'Women in Maritime' webinar, organized by Australia,
including Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
Virtual event (9.30 - 11 a.m. GMT)
Remarks by Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to join you today for this important webinar that will explore opportunities and challenges experienced by Australian women in their maritime career. The experiences we hear of today, and the opportunities and challenges highlighted will no doubt resonate with women across the world. This event is yet another example of Australia's maritime leadership.
Last week we marked International Women's Day on 8 March under the theme, "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world".
Of course, while we celebrate achievements, we need to recognize that this day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. We do need to remind ourselves of the actions that still need to be taken to ensure an equal world for all, men and women. We are navigating a course to a more diverse maritime sector.
In this, role models and visibility are such an important element. To change the balance, and level the playing-field, we need to make sure that it is known that there are opportunities to work in the maritime industry in the first place. Girls and boys often do not even know about maritime careers as they journey through their school life. The role models you will hear from today remind us all that this sector has a lot to offer, for all.
At IMO, we have also been working hard to make the maritime industry more inclusive and have launched multiple campaigns through our Women in Maritime Programme, which has been running for more than three decades, to lead the path into a more equal future with a focus on support for women from developing countries.
Our initiatives range from the "I Am On Board with Gender Equality" theme for our Day of the Seafarer in 2019 - part of that year's World Maritime Theme of "Empowering women in the maritime community" - through to our sponsorship of women from developing countries to take part in the SheEO leadership scheme and IMO fellowships at the World Maritime University (WMU) and the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI).
I am pleased that internally at IMO we are also progressing in the implementation of the Secretariat's Gender Equality Strategy.
It is vital that the maritime industry shows support for the many talented women in maritime. Supporting each other is now even more important than ever in these changing times.
Last week, the IMO Gender Network of maritime diplomats launched a mentorship programme for students from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute. This is another good example of concrete action, through which current leaders can pass on experience and advice to the next generation.
Incidentally, IMLI was the first educational institute in the UN system to reserve half of the places in its programmes for female candidates, opening the door for more than 400 female graduates. Together with graduates from WMU, many of them are now in senior roles as maritime administrators, decision-makers, policymakers in their home countries being ambassadors for others to follow.
We have also launched the "my maritime mentor" online campaign on IMO's social media channels. We particularly invite female seafarers to share their stories about the people who have helped them shine brighter, to highlight the 2021 World Maritime Theme "Seafarers: at the core of shipping's future".
All of these actions have helped to preserve the legacy of the World Maritime Theme for 2019 and set the route to a better future, as we seek to continue to turn the tide in favour of diversity.
Diversity matters. We need to continue to strive to do more, to support the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality.
In closing, I look forward to hearing your experiences.
I also look forward to learning what more needs to be done and how we can work together for a better, more diverse and more equal maritime sector.