Gender equality at sea: IMO adopts resolution on women in maritime

gender equality at sea
© iStock/Anastasiia Shavshyna

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a resolution on preserving and promoting gender equality at sea.

IMO Member States approved the resolution on “Preserving the legacy of the world maritime theme for 2019 and achieving a barrier-free working environment for women in the maritime sector” at the 31st IMO Assembly, held at the organisation’s London headquarters between 25 November and 4 December. The resolution highlights testimonies from women working in the maritime sector, who have reported encountering institutional obstacles and barriers to gender equality at all stages of the industry; and calls on national and industrial authorities to work to cultivate a safe, open environment for women at sea.

The IMO says: ‘Governments, maritime administrations and the industry should consider ways to continuously identify and overcome existing constraints in all aspects of the maritime sector, in particular, in terms of recruitment, promotion, training, capacity building and technical co-operation.’ The resolution urges governments, administrative and industry bodies to promote and share examples of best practice in terms of shoring up gender equality; and to collate and analyse data pertaining to women’s experience of working at sea and in maritime-related fields. This data should be used to establish a full foundation of evidence for identifying discrepancies in the treatment of women and informing the development of policy for increased representation in the sector.

The resolution encourages increased action to promote women’s participation in the maritime industry, particularly in the seafaring and shipbuilding sectors; and calls on the IMO itself to give greater consideration to the issue of gender equality in line with SDG 5, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality. The IMO’s World Maritime Theme for 2019 is ‘Empowering women in the maritime community’, aiming to raise awareness of the unrecognised contributions of women to the sector and the systemic barriers they still face.

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