Breaking down gender stereotypes in the maritime industry is not just important in its own right, it is also beneficial for the industry as a whole. That was one of the key messages to emerge from a special event held at IMO Headquarters in London yesterday, on International Labour Day on May 1, 2019.
In a year when IMO is highlighting its efforts to empower women in the maritime community, a panel discussion among five high level female maritime professionals and an invited audience of IMO delegates and other maritime representatives explored issues around female representation in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Sakura Kuma (Executive Director of the Port of Yokohama), Fran Collins (CEO of Red Funnel Group), Katy Ware (Maritime Safety and Standards Director at the UK Maritime Coastguard Agency), Despina Theodossiou (CEO of Tototheo Maritime and President of WISTA International) and Kathi Stanzel, (MD of INTERTANKO) discussed what had inspired them to join the maritime profession and the barriers that still need to be tackled.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim confirmed that IMO is strongly committed to helping Member States achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting SDG 5 on gender equality as one of the key platforms on which a sustainable future can be built.
Four maritime NGOs namely ICS, BIMCO, INTERTANKO and WISTA combined to organise the event.