"International Day of Women in Maritime" Symposium on 18 May 2022

"International Day of Women in Maritime"

Symposium on 18 May 2022

Live welcome remarks by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to be speaking to you on the first International Day for Women in Maritime. This is a historic day that has been chosen by IMO Member States to honour the achievements of the many women who contribute so much to the success of our maritime journey together.

But while there is much to celebrate, there is also the need for more progress to be made.

I am pleased to launch today the report from the IMO-WISTA global survey on women in maritime. Despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic, we were able to gather meaningful data. This data from the survey exposes the gender gap in our sector.

Women account for just twenty per cent of the workforce in the maritime authorities of Member States and twenty nine percent of the workforce across subsectors in the maritime industry – although these numbers are significantly higher than those at sea, where women make up as little as two per cent of the workforce.

We can – and must – do better.

IMO is committed to gender inclusivity. As enshrined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the benefits of having women in our workforce are obvious.

We need creative thinking to navigate maritime towards a more sustainable, more diverse, and more inclusive green future.

We need the brightest minds to address the challenges of decarbonisation, digitalisation, and more. People must be empowered to participate in discussions about maritime's future, irrespective of gender.

Collaboration is the best pathway to find optimal solutions and I am pleased that there are more women in our sector than in the past - as well an increasing number of diversity champions and allies.

IMO has been working for over three decades to address the gender imbalance in our working environment through our women in maritime programme. We have committed to this important cause - and we are seeing these efforts bear fruit.

Across the world, IMO has facilitated the creation of professional networks to mentor and support training and other opportunities. Eight thriving Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs) have been established: three in Africa and one each representing Arab States, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific.

Women can gain technical expertise via IMO-funded opportunities at the IMO International Maritime Law Institute, our Women in Port Management course and most recently the Maritime SheEO leadership accelerator programme, which was launched in March this year

Many IMO meetings are chaired by technically-skilled and capable women, including three of the five Committees, something that was unlikely 25 years ago. Every year, we welcome more female delegates from Member States, NGOs and IGOs and IMO delegates have created the IMOGEN network to advance gender equality. 

We must build on this progress.

The International Day for Women in Maritime now provides an annual opportunity to take stock and identify areas where improvement is needed – both on a sector-wide scale and within our individual organisations.

I'm confident that maritime stakeholders can and will do their best to make our sector more welcoming to, and supportive for, women.

I am pleased to see all of you at our symposium today, both as speakers and attendees. I look forward to your discussions on the best ways to create supportive and rewarding workplaces for women in maritime – whether on board or on shore.

For this inaugural International Women in Maritime day, IMO would like to celebrate the many faces of women in maritime shared across social media using the hashtag #WomenInMaritimeDay.

I look forward to celebrating this day every year as we make progress towards a more inclusive future.

Thank you, and enjoy the symposium.