Maritime UK has partnered with the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) to launch ‘Maritime and Me’, a campaign that aims to highlight women in maritime and encourage them to join the sector.
With funding by the DfT, the project will focus on attracting more women to work in the maritime industry, as well as promoting jobs in the sector to a wider diversity of people.
Alongside encouraging female students to pursue scientific studies, the campaign will further highlight women working in a wide range of roles within the maritime sector aiming to inspire those in the early to mid-stages of their careers.
As part of the campaign, Maritime UK, the DfT and ICS are working with WISE, a community interest company which provides potential career options and case studies for girls after they take an online personality quiz called MySkillsMyLife. This project will be applied to the shipping industry, with WISE tasked to develop a maritime-specific quiz, as well as a teaching pack.
The campaign comes in response to the UK Government’s Maritime 2050 pledge. In January 2019, UK shipping minister Nusrat Ghani emphasised on the importance of improving diversity as part of the Maritime 2050 strategy.
Ghani said at the time: “Government will fund the production of the ‘People Like Me’ maritime industry project to help address the perception of the industry and demonstrate how we can effectively showcase its value to a wider diversity of people.”
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With 2018 figures from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) suggesting women represent only 2% of the global maritime workforce ‘Encouraging women in the maritime community’ was chosen as the theme for World Maritime Day in 2019 on 26 September – which was created by the United Nations via the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to celebrate the international maritime industry’s contribution towards the world’s economy.
Commenting on the move, a spokesperson from IMO said: “Shipping has historically been a male-dominated industry. However, IMO believes that empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurs productivity and growth, and benefits every stakeholder in the global maritime community.
“It’s especially encouraging to see developments like this galvanised by the focus we have put on gender equality through our maritime theme for this year.”
As the representative explains, the IMO itself is engaged in a number of projects aiming to attract female workforce to maritime: “Through our own Women in Maritime programme, IMO encourages its Member States to enable women to train alongside men in their maritime institutes and so acquire the high-level of competence that the maritime industry demands”.
Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) launched a pledge to increase diversity in firms which already saw over 2,500 signatures at the time of writing.
A spoekspersom from WISTA said: “The maritime industry is not encouraging the next generation to join our industry as much as needed.
“We need to build on our brand and become more visible to young people, making sure we are at the top of their minds when choosing a career. We have so much to offer and we are an exciting industry for any young person.”
The Maritime and Me campaign is only the latest of a large number of initiatives Maritime UK has undertaken over the years targeting women in maritime. During the Maritime UK week in September 2018, for example, it launched a pledge – Women in Maritime Charter –to motivate more businesses to commit to improve the gender gap and boost diversity in their firm. Around 60 signatories, including BP Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd UK and Stena Line UK, have already pledged support.
As part of the initiative, a taskforce was also established by Maritime UK to address equality in the sector and to identify key steps to increase the number of women in maritime.