Keynote address at second Maritime SheEO Conference
Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen,
I am pleased to address this Conference again. Let me start by congratulating you on your successful first event last year. We need more events like this to raise the profile of women in the maritime sector. It is a fact that a diverse work force benefits both individual employers and the sector as a whole.
This is why IMO has been working hard to make maritime more inclusive.
One of the biggest benefits to a diverse workforce is innovative ways of thinking. People from different backgrounds will assess problems in unique ways – and can come up with inventive solutions. This is very valuable to our industry, which operates in complex conditions.
We are nearing the end of the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to put a massive strain on the supply chain and most importantly on our seafarers.
The pandemic has also accelerated the need to facilitate automation and digitalization of the maritime sector.
Simultaneously, we have taken up the challenge combating climate change and reducing our impact on the environment by decarbonizing shipping using alternative fuels and new technologies.
We can only achieve these goals by working together on a global scale – and by welcoming diversity in our approaches and our work.
Building back better and greener relies on having engaged workers. The inclusion of women in the workforce and in leadership roles is fundamental to our global economic resilience.
I believe that there is room for improvement in the maritime sector on this front. I also know that there is a desire to do better from various maritime stakeholders.
To this end, I am happy to inform you of the historic decision by IMO to include a reference to gender equality in the new strategic direction on the Human Element in the Organization's Strategic Plan, an important signal in the strategic approach of the Organization.
In support of the efforts to enhance the participation of women in maritime IMO has partnered with WISTA International for the inaugural Women in Maritime Survey – which looks at the proportion and distribution of women working in the maritime sector.
The results, which are currently being analyzed and will be published next year, use information gathered separately from IMO Member States and the maritime industry to paint a picture of the current state of our sector and work as a benchmark for us to mark our progress.
I am very proud of the work done across our network of IMO-supported regional associations for women in the maritime sector (WIMAs). We currently have eight WIMAs established across Africa, Arab States, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific.
I also welcome the developments following the adoption of the IMO Assembly resolution in 2019 to preserve the legacy of the IMO's World Maritime Theme for 2019: the empowerment of women in maritime, including IMOGEN, a network for IMO delegates seeking to achieve gender equality within the sector.
The most recent success in our efforts to promote women in maritime is the decision of IMO to establish an International Day for Women in Maritime, which will be celebrated on 18 May every year.
This day will give us the opportunity to encourage the recruitment, retention, and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector and raise the profile of women in maritime. It also works to strengthen IMO's commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today you will hear from many speakers, who will share their journeys of maritime leadership with you. I hope that these stories inspire you and the incoming generations of leaders; to celebrate diversity, change makers and sustainable solutions.
I look forward to working with you to make the maritime sector truly inclusive. I wish you all a fruitful Conference.