The third WMU International Women’s Conference, Empowering Women in the Maritime Community, reflects this year’s World Maritime Day theme set by IMO.

The 2019 Conference discussed the gender gap in maritime, ports, ocean, fishing and related industries with participants from all over the world, including governments, the maritime industry, United Nations agencies, academia, research institutes, NGOs, indigenous communities, media and WMU/ International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) alumni.

Overall, the participants urged the shipping stakeholders to:

  1. develop, adopt and enforce gender-responsive policies and related programmes and ensure that the policy development process is consultative, participatory;
  2. improve the visibility of women professionals in all sea-related sectors by mapping out the number and positions they occupy and take measurable actions that can contribute to progress;
  3. promote role models for women in the maritime and ocean communities, to inspire and attract younger generations to sea-related activities;
  4. motivate women and girls in primary and secondary education to pursue career paths in the maritime and ocean fields, and in particular to raise their awareness in the fields of science,technology and IT-related competencies, engineering and mathematics;
  5. open early-career job opportunities for women and develop attractive career paths for them;
  6. organize mentoring, sponsorship and networking programmes;
  7. mainstream gender in the maritime and ocean professions to enhance respect for diversity and achieve a work environment free from violence, discrimination and harassment;
  8. raise awareness of the significant economic contribution of women in all sea-related activities, including the special needs and role of indigenous communities;
  9. provide gender-sensitive working and living conditions on board ships;
  10. implement conciliation measures to make work time compatible with private and family life for all workers regardless of gender;
  11. ensure equal employment opportunities, including equal pay for women in the maritime and ocean communities;
  12. introduce gender equality as a business case for initiating commercial partnerships;
  13. develop and implement corporate policies and best practices on the employment of women;
  14. implement a plan to enhance diversity and equality at all levels;
  15. ensure a consultative approach in global development taking into account those communities that are dependent on the oceans for their survival;
  16. include women in all decision-making relating to policies and regulations.

#The Conference noted that there are six highly important actions that should be given priority in the shipping industry# 

#1 A new study should be conducted, gathering data on the number of women in maritime and oceans fields across all sectors and the positions they occupy.

#2 Additional action to support Gender Empowerment for the Decade of Ocean Science.

#3 A network platform has to be launched to address gender empowerment, learning and sharing best practice in a knowledge hub and build support.

#4 A solid engagement of all stakeholders should be put in place in consultation with women and minorities.

#5 Education and training procedures should lead with the concept of gender rights and equality in the maritime and ocean communities.

#6 Enhanced collaborative opportunities to work together should be actively pursued to support the effective implementation of UN SDG Goal 5 (Gender) and Goal 14 (Oceans).


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