Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have urged further firm action in coming years to advance gender equality throughout the maritime sector and reach a barrier-free environment, following a year of action to "empower women in the maritime community" – the World Maritime theme for 2019.
The IMO Assembly, meeting for its 31st session (25 November-4 December) adopted a resolution 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 resolution urges governments, maritime administrations and the industry to endeavour to reach a barrier-free environment for women, so that all women can participate fully, safely and without hindrance in the activities of the maritime community, including seafaring and shipbuilding activities.
The resolution notes testimony from women from across the various maritime industries which demonstrates that barriers and obstacles still exist at every level. The work towards gender equality, including the fostering of a safe environment for women in the maritime sector, remains incomplete and should continue to be pursued.
Governments, maritime administrations and the industry should consider ways to continuously identify and overcome existing constraints in all aspects of the maritime sector, in particular, in terms of recruitment, promotion, training, capacity-building and technical cooperation.
The resolution encourages sharing of best practices in achieving gender equality. It also encourages efforts to collect, consolidate and analyse data relating to the participation of women in the maritime sector, in order to establish an evidentiary foundation that will set baselines, identify gaps and inform policies aimed at removing barriers and increasing female participation in the sector.
The resolution also encourages IMO, and its relevant subsidiary bodies to take into consideration gender equality, including the fostering of a safe environment for women in the maritime sector, and integrate these considerations into their work. Open dialogue and wider engagement between the Member States and observer delegations is encouraged.
Creating a barrier-free environment for women will help facilitate the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality.
World Maritime theme 2019 – empowering women in the maritime community
The IMO World Maritime theme "Empowering Women in the Maritime Community" has helped raise awareness of the importance of gender equality and highlight the important - yet under-utilized - contribution of women within the maritime sector. Many maritime stakeholders have enthusiastically taken up the theme at seminars, conferences and panel discussions.
Throughout the year, IMO has been working with various maritime stakeholders to help create an environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes and to encourage more conversation for gender equality in the maritime space.
IMO's Women in Maritime programme has pushed forward with numerous activities, including premiering a new film, launching profiles of women in the maritime sector and providing support to Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs) launched through the programme.
The 31st Assembly of IMO met in London at IMO Headquarters from 25 November to 4 December 2019.
The Assembly elected the 40-Member IMO Council for the next biennium 2020 to 2021 (see Briefing 31/2019); confirmed the re-appointment of IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim for a second four-year term; and adopted 17 resolutions. (Read more here.)