Currently, only 27% of the women employed hold managerial positions- while the share of female managers has hardly changed in two decades. According to ILO estimates, there are far fewer women than men in management globally, and progress in this area since the turn of the century has been virtually non-existent.

Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President, World Maritime University (WMU), has previously focused on the fact that although many are the women graduate from institutions with oceans and maritime programs, few are those who get the chance to take a leadership position in ocean activities.

Specifically, Dr Doumbia-Henry has highlighted that the shipping sector is unable to attract; employ; and retain women as employees, and also promote and support women in leadership roles.

Nevertheless, it is said that it is now more than ever that women are catching up with men in terms of labor market opportunities, as public policies continue to be shaped to facilitate their effective participation.

Remarkably, in 2019 Sadan Kaptanoglu was selected to become BIMCO's first woman President in June while Ms. Quah Ley Hoon has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

Jeanne M. Grasso, Partner, Blank Rome has previously said that

While women can bring the same professional skillset as men to our industry, women also bring different perspectives and viewpoints, which add value, oftentimes allowing a company to better understand and respond to customer and client needs. Research over the years has made clear that companies with diverse workforces perform better financially.

In fact, a growing number of studies have demonstrated the positive link between women’s participation in the labor market and GDP growth.

The World Economic Forum (2017) has predicted that if the global gender gap in labor market participation is closed by 25% by 2025, an additional US$5.3 trillion would be added to GDP globally. Meanwhile, a report  by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), revealed that if women fully participated in formal labor markets, GDP would increase by $28 trillion.

Cynthia Hudson, CEO, HudsonAnalytix comes to add that

In such roles, women assist to effect change and create readiness for a future that is inclusive of quality leaders, both women and men! And women in senior leadership roles serve as an inspiration for the next generation of talented professional young women who may wish to consider entering the maritime industry.

The Bureau for Employers’ Activities of the ILO has previously reported that businesses with genuine gender diversity, particularly at senior level, perform better and see significant profit increases.

Notably, more than 54% of the responders said that saw improvements in creativity, innovation and openness and a similar proportion said effective gender inclusivity enhanced their company’s reputation, while almost 37% felt it enabled them to more effectively gauge customer sentiment.

All in all, equal empowerment of women and men means more people can contribute to financial life, with the advantage of diversity through collective decision making. And as Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, CEO of TOTOTHEO MARITIME and President of WISTA International has highlighted, “We need and have always needed capable people in leadership positions. Gender should not be a distinguishing factor in a world where both men and women receive equal opportunities to occupy managerial positions and are treated according to their skills, qualifications and performance.” This will be a win-win scenario for shipping.