A panel discussion among five high level female maritime professionals and an invited audience of IMO delegates and other maritime representatives explored issues around female representation in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Namely, Sakura Kuma (Executive Director of the Port of Yokohama), Fran Collins (CEO of Red Funnel Group), Katy Ware (Maritime Safety and Standards Director at the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency), Despina Theodossiou (CEO of Tototheo Maritime and President of WISTA International) and Kathi Stanzel, (MD of INTERTANKO) discussed what had inspired them to join the maritime profession and the barriers that still need to be tackled.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim confirmed that IMO is strongly committed to helping Member States achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting SDG 5 on gender equality as one of the key platforms on which a sustainable future can be built.

Four maritime NGOs (ICS, BIMCO, INTERTANKO and WISTA) combined to organise the event.

The event comes in a year when IMO has been significantly highlighting its efforts to empower women in the maritime community.

IMO selected the "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community" as the World Maritime Day theme for 2019, in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the SDGs.