These activities will lay the groundwork for further discussion on how a diverse workforce will be essential for a sustainable future, according to IMO.

Initiatives already underway include a study to collect and analyze data on the number of women employed in the maritime sector; developing a database of female experts in a wide range of maritime subjects available for speaking engagements to make panels more diverse and supporting implementation of IMO Assembly Resolution A.1147(31) on Preserving the legacy of the World Maritime theme for 2019 and Achieving a Barrier-Free Working Environment for Women in the Maritime Sector.

The IMO theme 2019 “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community” was dedicated to women in shipping, providing the opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion in the maritime sector, as well as lay the groundwork for open discussion on how diverse workforce will provide for a sustainable future.

In addition, the theme has made evident that more actions need to be taken to reach the goal of a truly diverse industry.

Another key part of the MoU is to strengthen cooperation and share best practices between the IMO-established regional women in maritime associations (WIMAs) and WISTA International's national WISTA Associations.

The MoU was signed by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and WISTA International President Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou.

Following this event, a WISTA information session was organized at IMO Headquarters in London to raise awareness of the work of WISTA International.

WISTA International, with consultative status with IMO, can formally contribute to the discussion for promoting women in the industry, both shoreside and shipboard, and also showcasing the varied technical skills and leadership that women bring to the industry.