The historically male-dominated shipping industry should clear the decks for a new generation of women, whose empowerment would help fuel economic growth, and speed up the drive towards "safe, secure, clean and sustainable shipping," according to International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the top UN shipping agency.
The IMO has made empowering women the theme for this year’s World Maritime Day, celebrated on Thursday.
This provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to highlight the important - yet under-utilised - contribution of women within the maritime sector, it stated.
The agency’s Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, said that "gender equality has been recognised as one of the key platforms on which people can build a sustainable future."
"Helping our member states achieve the SDGs and deliver the 2030 Agenda is one of our key strategic directions," remarked Lim.
"Gender equality and decent work for all are among those goals - SDGs 5 and 8 - and, although we are highlighting the role of women in the maritime community this year, I want to stress that this is part of a continuing, long-term effort in support of these objectives," he stated.
"Women in the maritime world today are strong, powerful and constantly challenging old-fashioned perceptions," he added.
The IMO chief pointed out that the maritime world was changing and for the better. "With help from IMO, and other organisations, exciting and rewarding career opportunities are opening up for women. And a new generation of strong and talented women are responding," stated Lim.
"They are proving that in today's world the maritime industries are for everyone. It's not about your gender, it's about what you can do," he added.
In its message for the Day, IMO acknowledged that shipping "has historically been a male-dominated industry and that tradition runs long and deep."
"However, IMO believes that empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurs productivity and growth, and benefits every stakeholder in the global maritime community," it added.-TradeArabia News Service