Today marks the inaugural International Day for Women in Maritime—a celebration of women’s contribution to the maritime community and a recognition of the need to remove the barriers stopping more women from entering the sector.
Leanne Loan, Executive Director of Policy and Regulation at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), highlighted the importance of gender equality for the future of shipping and maritime overall.
‘It’s really important that we ensure gender equality is at the heart of how we approach our shipping industry into the future,’ she said.
'Women bring a different perspective to the way that we consider and tackle some of the challenges facing the maritime sector. They have different considerations in relation to those issues and are disproportionately affected by them.’
With only 1.5% of the global seafaring workforce being female, there is significant opportunity to attract more women into the sector.
Elisa Boughton, Manager of International and Domestic Engagement at AMSA said, ‘as well as celebrating women, we hope to inspire the next generation of women to consider a career in maritime and identify and address the barriers to women's full participation in maritime careers.’
Increasing participation of women in maritime starts with creating safe and inviting workplaces.
Some of the challenges we face include overcoming cultural barriers, conscious and unconscious gender bias, gender stereotypes, inflexible working arrangements, and unsuitable facilities.
AMSA Chief Executive Mick Kinley is vocal in his support.
‘For women to be able to achieve their full potential in a career in maritime, the industry needs to work together to ensure that the gender challenges that are faced can be overcome,’ he said.
AMSA joins many others in Australia and globally to achieve this goal.
International Day for Women in Maritime was established by the International Maritime Organization after the Pacific Women in Maritime Association developed and championed this initiative, with the unanimous support of members states around the world.