The Taskforce aims to bring together leaders from the maritime sector to identify solutions to increase the number of women in maritime, and within senior roles across its shipping, ports, marine and business services industries.

Achieving a balanced workforce at all levels in the maritime sector will undoubtedly improve culture, behaviour, outcomes, profitability and productivity, Maritime UK said in its statement.

The Taskforce will make a series of recommendations and recognize best practice from other sectors that have taken similar action.

Sue Terpilowski, Chair of the Taskforce, stated: “The need for fairness, equality and inclusion is clearer than ever and the maritime sector must embrace diversity because it’s the right thing to do. Equally there is a strong business case for action. The OECD has estimated that equalising the role of men and women in the labour market could increase GDP by 10% by 2030. There are women of all ages and abilities wanting to be a part of our maritime future and we must make sure we don’t waste any more time in not addressing this issue.”

David Dingle, Chair of Maritime UK, said that in the Merchant Navy, women make up only 2% of the world’s maritime workforce, and those figures are replicated in the UK as well.

Out of the 14,350 officers in UK, only 3% are women and only 4% of the technical officers are women. Furthermore, of the 6,500 engine officers, only 1% are women, David Dingle added.

“The news that leaders from across the maritime sector are examining ways to improve the representation of women in their industry, including in senior roles, is very welcome. A plan to tackle gender inequality isn’t just ‘nice to have’, it’s essential, because right now our maritime sector is missing out on the skills and talents of outstanding women. I look forward to hearing more about the Taskforce’s conclusions and seeing practical action to support a more diverse workforce,” commented Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair of the Transport select committee.