WMU president address concerns about women empowerment in the shipping industry

BY Tiya Chatterji 8.Nov.2019

From 4-5 April, over 350 participants from more than 70 countries around the globe gathered at the World Maritime University (WMU) for the WMU Empowering Women in the Maritime Community Conference. The aim of the event was to address the gender gap in the maritime, oceans, ports, fishing and related industries. The conference was held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and was themed on”Sustainable Marine Development Towards 2030 and Beyond”.

When questioned about the industry’s efforts to empower women and how they can be supported on a path to equality, the WMU President said that she conducted a major study on women seafarers back in 2003 when serving as the Director of the International Labour Standards Department of the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland. At that time, the study reported that 1 to 2 percent of the seafaring population was women, with all maritime segments having been taken into account. I don’t think the industry is doing enough to empower women,” Henry stressed.

Speaking about the conference’s other important theme — sustainable development and SDGs, Henry remarked that a lot remains to be done as far as these goals are concerned. She explained that WMU as the Apex academic postgraduate institution and that it has more freedom than the International maritime organization (IMO) in decision making process.

With 90 percent of the WMU’s students coming from developing countries, the WMU President said that each graduate will be equipped with at least five UN SDGs that they can take forward in their countries and make a difference to the implementation by 2030. In this manner, developing countries can help themselves as well while others are helping them. With the abundance of resources and capacity today, no country should be underdeveloped or non-developed, Henry concluded.