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Empowering women in shipping

(Posted on 27/09/19)

Maritime professionals must all play a part in challenging stereotypes and changing mindsets in order to create gender equality across the global shipping industry, Rear Admiral (ret’d) Peter Brady, Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica has urged.

Speaking in Kingston today, on World Maritime Day, which takes the theme Empowering Women in the Maritime Community, Admiral Brady said: “We have heard many times that shipping has historically been a male-dominated industry and that this tradition runs long and deep. We, therefore, as maritime professionals of stature, must play our part and press for progress by maintaining a gender parity mindset, challenging stereotypes and biases, influencing others' beliefs/actions and finally by acknowledging and celebrating women's achievements.”

Praising the International Maritime Organization for leading the way, Admiral Brady said: “Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurs productivity and growth, and benefits every stakeholder in the global maritime community.”

The Admiral continued, “ The theme we are celebrating today is “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community” and some may argue that women have been making progress and that we have been empowering our women. However, there is still work to be done here, in this our beautiful country, to increase women’s participation and leadership in the public and private sector.

The European Union’s Institute for gender equality notes that women’s empowerment has five components: women’s sense of self-worth; their right to have and to determine choices; their right to have access to opportunities and resources; their right to have power to control their own lives, both within and outside the home; and their ability to influence the direction of social change to create a more just social and economic order, nationally and internationally.

With that said, it is important for us to reflect on our current situation and identify how we can positively contribute to the growth and development of our women and girls. We also need to realise and accept that gender inequality/gender parity is not something that is just an issue in non-industrialized countries, but it is an issue that no country has been able to escape. Education, healthcare, and employment are just some of the obstacles women face in this world today and thus it is necessary for us to push for changes.

In this context, promoting avenues to education and training, helping to raise awareness, building self-confidence, supporting the expansion of choices, supporting increased access to and control over resources, and facilitating actions to transform the structures and institutions that reinforce and perpetuate gender discrimination and inequality are important tools for empowering women and girls to claim their rights.

We have heard many times that shipping has historically been a male-dominated industry and that this tradition runs long and deep. We, therefore, as maritime professionals of stature, must play our part and press for progress by maintaining a gender parity mindset, challenging stereotypes and biases, influencing others' beliefs/actions and finally by acknowledging and celebrating women's achievements.”

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