The British Ports Association’s Women in Maritime Taskforce convened its first meeting yesterday to discuss gender equality in the maritime sector.
The Women in Maritime Taskforce was first announced at the 2018 London Boat Show in January, and brings together leaders from across the maritime sector with the aim of increasing the number of women in senior roles across the shipping, ports, marine and business services industries.
Chair of the taskforce Sue Terpilowski, president of the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association UK, said at the time: “The need for fairness, equality and inclusion is clearer than ever and the maritime sector must embrace diversity because it’s the right thing to do. Equally there is a strong business case for action.”
She added: “There are women of all ages and abilities wanting to be a part of our maritime future and we must make sure we don’t waste any more time in not addressing this issue.”
What happened at the meeting?
A number of objectives were agreed at the inaugural meeting, with stakeholders committing to investigate the various issues dominating the sector on the whole, but from the perspective of improving gender equality in the industry. These concerns include:
- Recruitment and the ageing workforce;
- Equal pay; and
- Career progression and staff retention.
The meeting featured a speech from the UK’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Nusrat Ghani, who said that the taskforce’s work could create new opportunities for women at all levels of the maritime sector.
She expressed optimism about the relationship between the Women in Maritime Taskforce and the UK government, saying: “This taskforce will be crucial in opening up the wealth of career opportunities in the maritime industry to women around the country. Today’s meeting will start the journey towards better understanding equality and inclusion in the sector and I want to see many more women taking up careers in maritime.”