OSLO, Norway: September 26, 2019. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is celebrating World Maritime Day with this year’s theme ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’.
Höegh Autoliners, which will increase its Europe-Australia service from four to five a month from November in response to a growing demand from the breakbulk, outsize and automobile sectors, says it believes diversity is about having an inclusive culture “where everyone feels welcome, is treated with respect, receives equal pay for equal work and is given equal opportunities”.
With only two percent of women in the maritime industry employed as seafarers, Monalisa Alejandrino (pictured) was one of the first female cadets employed by Höegh Fleet Services Philippines in 2008. This April she became the company’s first female Chief Officer: “There was no secret to how I got to be where I am now. All I did was give my best in everything I do. And now, my goal is to inspire other female seafarers to believe in themselves. Because, if men can do it, so can we,” she declared.
It’s a view also held by the Norwegian branch of the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) who’s vision is to empower women to lead, with the conviction that gender diversity is key in providing a sustainable future for the shipping industry.
However the organisation has also recognised the role men can play in gender equality according to Pia Meling, president of WISTA Norway: “To bring the discussion on gender equality and diversity from the problem definition phase to finding good solutions, we need to invite men to the table – and especially the male leaders of our industry.”
As a result Wallenius Wilhelmsen CEO Craig Jasienski has now joined the association: “To build a sustainable future of shipping and logistics, we need to bring together diverse views, experiences and perspectives in a workplace where everyone can thrive,” he said. “I hope to see many more men join me as members of WISTA, to join the conversation and together build a truly inclusive industry.”
WISTA has a consultative status in IMO and has since its inception in 1974 has partnered with the European Commission, International Chamber of Shipping, InterManager, INTERTANKO, World Maritime University, ISWAN, the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and YoungShip to increase women’s participation in the maritime industry.
In a related announcement, IATA has launched a campaign to encourage its members to increase the number of women employed in senior positions to 25 percent by 2025. Currently they represent 5.0 percent of the global pilot population and 3.0 percent of airline CEOs. China Eastern, Lufthansa Group and Qatar Airways have signed up to the initiative.