Achieving gender diversity is a hot debate for the maritime sector, with IMO dedicating a great deal of efforts to spread awareness and boost women presence in a so far male-dominated industry. Women are underrepresented in commercial shipping, either be it in corporate leadership or in seafaring jobs in the high seas. But what about the yachting sector?
In line with a wider discussion on the importance of gender diversity, a special initiative called ‘She of the Sea’ is working to make the yachting industry more diverse, in line with IMO’s work to empower women in the maritime community:
Aligning with these efforts, ‘She of the Sea’ is a community of professional Women in the Yachting industry, and the men who support them, with the aim to open career paths for young women, create respective role models and thus build the vision of a high performing, competency focused industry, regardless of gender. The areas of focus are:
- Promoting a constant flow of alternative narratives of a Woman’s role in the Superyacht industry;
- Spreading awareness on the female perspective;
- Collaborating with schools and STEM programs worldwide to let girls know “they can be the Captain, they can be the engineer”;
- Making vital career information available to all that seek it;
- Connecting the ever growing community of female Captains, officers, deck crew and engineers, as well as the men and businesses that support them.
The gender diversity pledge
The Pledge is a commitment by She of the Sea and signatory organizations to work together to build a diverse and inclusive Yachting industry.
The Pledge reflects global aspiration to see gender balance at all levels realized, with a focus to the following points:
- Assign a Senior Sponsor, to monitor performance in respect to the pledge.
- Report and Monitor: Capturing gender diversity data is important for establishing a baseline and measuring progress.
- Visual Representation: Adopting a more active gender balance and representation in marketing materials, branding and marketing activities. Ensuring women are equally represented at events, on panels and advisory boards.
- Hiring and Placement: Each organization is committed to ensuring it conducts fair recruitment/ placement processes by taking active steps, such as using gender balanced shortlists, refining the way roles are advertised or having a specialist diversity recruiter advise them.
How do women cope in yachting industry?
Recent data from ISWAN revealed an increasing number of superyacht crew, both males and females, who contacted the dedicated Seafarer helpline in 2018-2019.
An earlier report by ISWAN on yacht crews’ wellness for 2018 showed that:
- 77% of women and 55% of men had experienced problems with onboard leadership ‘sometimes’, ‘often’ or ‘always’.
- 57% of women and 39% of men suffered from social isolation or loneliness ‘sometimes’, ‘often’ or ‘always’ while working on board.
- Accessing physical healthcare was more of an issue for women than for men: 18% of female respondents and 11% of male respondents found this a regular challenge.
- Accessing mental health care was more of an issue for women than for men, with 55% of female respondents reporting this to be an occasional or regular challenge, compared to 28% of men.
- 80% of female respondents reported suffering from one or more episode of work-related stress, compared to 54% of men.
- In port, 93% of male respondents ‘usually’ or ‘always’ felt safe, compared to 84% of women.
Since the publication of the report into the welfare of superyacht crews, ISWAN has convened a small industry group that has designed a project to provide information for these crews. ISWAN also recently informed that further training of SeafarerHelp team on welfare needs of superyacht crew will be undertaken during the year.