Women in the maritime industry gaining more attention
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Women in the maritime industry gaining more attention

The representation of women in the maritime industry has become a prominent topic, being discussed greatly while discrimination issues arise in many working industries all around the world. The underrepresentation of women in the maritime industry has been a huge issue for many years now, with percentages reaching as low as 1% of women working onboard vessels and 35% at land. The Danish initiative “Charter for more women in shipping” aims to turn a new page and change the abovementioned numbers.

Denmark is at the forefront to change history in regards to the representation of women in the workforce with the very recent initiative calling for companies to charter more women on board. As Anne H. Steffensen, Danish Shipping’s Director General and CEO, commented: “We have a major challenge in recruiting labour to Blue Denmark. Right now, we are simply missing out on half the talent pool unless we can attract more women”.

Among others, the Danish initiative states that shipping companies have to devise a strategy or plan to increase the proportion of women in their company and begin with ways that support this. Additionally, a top management member of the company should be responsible to set the targets and put them in action. Another encouraging point in the Danish initiative is the goal set by the founders, that by entering 2021, 75 per cent of the shipping companies which translates into the representation of 75 per cent of the employees, should have signed and joined the cause.

Moving to the other side of the world, the fact that the first woman to join Japan’s submarine academy is noteworthy. Risa Takenouchi was accepted at the submarine academy, after Japan ended the ban of women entering its submarines and thus making history. In an effort to develop the role of women in its ranks and to attract young talent in the industry, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces initiated this historic move for the country.

As new ways of employment are in demand, in an effort to develop diversity in the workforce of our industry, these types of initiatives are a necessity. Heidy Heseltine, Co-Founder of the Diversity Study Group, states in a relevant interview that in order to support gender diversity, education among other factors is the key. Developing a working environment which supports the objectives being the actual job requirements and functions, training, mentoring and development is required among shipping companies.

Women are essential in the maritime industry, not just for diversity’s sake, but to achieve a balanced working environment with competent crew members regardless of gender. It’s not about physical strength only; rather it is about strong minds.

Being an educational platform, SafeLearn promotes and supports equal opportunities of men and women in the industry and welcomes such initiatives dedicated to the advancement of women in our industry. Product Manager of SafeLearn, Mr Valentinos Steliou shared his views on the occasion, by stating that initiatives such as this one support the team’s philosophy of gender equality in the maritime sector, the key to push the industry forward, with new ideas.