The event was hosted by Malta's Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, Ian Borg, and Minister for European Affairs and Equality, Helena Dalli, at the Excelsior Hotel in Floriana.
Opening the ceremony, Mr. Borg noted that the achievement of Malta’s first group of female master mariners is to be considered a pivotal moment for Malta’s rich maritime tradition.
The minister continued by saying that gender equality is not just a women’s issue. In commerce, a diverse workforce benefits all and thus this also becomes an economic issue. He went on to say that studies have in fact shown that gender equity can help unlock business potential, bringing to enterprises and industries higher innovation and business performance.
Minister Borg congratulated the female mariners for being able to break the rigid gender roles that exist in the maritime industry, with specific reference to seafaring.
He explained that although the situation in general in this industry is not so bleak with respect to female representation in shorebased roles, unfortunately the seafaring activity still lags behind. When it comes to this specific activity, the challenges to gender equality tend to multiply even on an international level. Therefore, it becomes important to work hard and to reflect on how empowering women can be made possible.
Today’s ceremony is a way to honour these five trail blazing captains—this is their moment and they deserve it. My duty is now to ensure that more women are empowered in the maritime industry, which is an important industry for our country. Malta has already negotiated the inclusion of the Sustainable Development Goals within the IMO’s strategic framework. We must continue striving to ensure that the role of women, not only in the maritime sector, but across all sectors, is highlighted,
Minister for European Affairs and Equality Helena Dalli augured that this would be the first step towards parity with the male counterparts in this sector which has traditionally been dominated by men:
We need to extend our openness to gender equality in the maritime sector and beyond not least because equality harnesses both social and economic benefits. In fact, I attribute many of the successes of this government to the fact that we are mainstreaming gender equality.
She concluded by saying that this is also why the government not only encourages female participation across all spheres, but makes this further possible through its policies across the board.
Captain Abigail Xerri, Captain Carmen Darmanin, Captain Jacqueline Spiteri and Captain Laura Falzon received a memento for their achievement from Minister Ian Borg while Captain Pauline.