International Day for Women in Maritime 2023

Message from Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO ahead of International Day for Women in Maritime, 18 May 2023

On 18 May, we celebrate the International Day for Women in Maritime.

Women are working in all facets of the maritime sector across the globe, on shore and at sea to support the transition to a decarbonized, digitalized and more sustainable future for the industry.

There is still a significant gender imbalance in maritime. Times are changing – but we need to accelerate that change. The benefits for the whole sector of improved diversity in the workforce is evident.

The theme for this year is “Mobilizing networks for gender equality”, highlighting the importance of collaboration and networking in achieving gender equality in the maritime sector. The IMO-established Women in Maritime Associations are one example of such networks. They are paving the way in supporting women in maritime across the globe – and encouraging the next generation into the maritime industry.

This is important because gender equality is recognized as a key pillar for a sustainable future. It is enshrined in Sustainable Development Goal 5, one of the 17 goals that underpin the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda, which countries all over the world have pledged to implement.

For more than three decades, IMO has been supporting gender equality through our women in maritime programme, seeking to empower women in the sector through training, visibility and recognition. The IMO works in partnership with many like-minded entities in this regard including IMOGEN – our maritime diplomats for gender equality, WISTA International, and internally within the Secretariat there is notable work underway by our cross-divisional working group on gender and diversity.

This is the second year we are marking 18 May as a key day in our calendar to celebrate women in the industry and to promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector. The day also serves to raise the profile of women in maritime, to strengthen IMO's commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) and support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime.

Let us once again use this opportunity to celebrate the many women who are contributing to the future of maritime: navigators, engineers, surveyors, CEOs, managers, representatives of government and industry, those chairing IMO meetings, and women in every role across the industry.

Happy International Day for Women in Maritime!