The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will launch its seventh Women in Maritime Association (WIMA) chapter in the Caribbean at an inaugural conference to be held in Jamaica from April 13-17, 2015.
This is in keeping with the IMO’s gender programme which was launched some 27 years ago.
The conference, which will be held under the auspices of the IMO, is aimed at supporting the efforts of the Caribbean region to deepen the integration of women in the maritime sector through the establishment of WIMA for the Caribbean. The IMO currently has WIMA in the Middle East and North Africa, Asia, Philippines, East and Southern Africa.
One of the drivers of the programme has been the establishment of formal regional linkages between women managers in the maritime and port sectors, to provide a permanent channel for the exchange of information.
The IMO’s decision to establish a WIMA in the Caribbean came against the background of Jamaica’s participation in the second International Conference on Maritime Women Global Leadership, which was hosted by the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden, from March 31 to April 1, 2014. Jamaica was invited to participate and present the Regional Perspective of the Caribbean, and prepared a paper for presentation titled ‘Women in the Maritime Sector: Surviving and Thriving in a Man’s World – a Caribbean Perspective’.
The findings and recommendations of this paper were informed by a survey conducted over eight of the Caribbean States, and involved some 40 female maritime professionals from various sectors of the industry.
One of the recommendations emanating from the survey was the need for the establishment of a national/regional association.
A very significant 80 per cent of the participants surveyed expressed the need for such an association, which would be a primary forum for networking through the hosting of conferences, seminars on gender issues and industry development.
The official invitation letters from the IMO have been sent to some 24 States of the region.
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