Citing greater profitability, improved economic development and shifting dynamics necessitating greater diversity, shipping’s international trade and regulatory bodies have highlighted the positive power of a gender-diverse workforce
In videos released to celebrate World Maritime Day 2019, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have made open calls to the maritime industry to empower women in shipping and to change the male-dominated nature of the industry.
"Shipping needs to take strong, positive actions to address deep-seated structural, institutional and cultural barriers," barring entry and reducing opportunities for women in the maritime workforce, said IMO secretary general Kitack Lim.
Mr Lim noted the UN sustainable development goals in his address, acknowledging gender equality as a key method by which both local communities and the global community can build sustainable economies.
The UN ’s theme for World Maritime Day 2019 is ’Empowering women in the maritime community’ and offers an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with UN goals, and to highlight the important contribution of women within the maritime sector.
In the shipping industry, UN sustainable development goal five is intended "to foster 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".
A video from ICS used anachronistic terminology and images to assert that shipping had moved past its antiquated image as a men’s club and to urge its members to "capitalise on the entire workforce".
"Today, shipping is about technology and digitalisation," the video said, "where new skills and approaches are the currency of success."
The maritime industry is in need of highly educated employees with "intelligence, technological experience and good communications skills" to drive the shift towards its digital future, ICS said.
The evidence is clear, ICS said: inclusive organisations make more money, are more productive, create more innovation, draw better-qualified candidates and have higher retention rates among staff.
"Women will shape the future of shipping," ICS said. "By empowering women, we can fuel thriving economies everywhere."