Celebrating women in maritime

The first International Day for Women in Maritime on May 18 focuses on the theme “Training-Visibility-Recognition: Supporting a barrier-free working environment”, and provides a platform to highlight and celebrate the achievements of women in maritime and identify areas of improvement for gender balance. 

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: “There is still a gender imbalance in maritime – but times are changing. It is recognized that diversity in maritime benefits the entire sector. Women in maritime are working everywhere to support the transition to a decarbonized, digitalized and more sustainable future.  

“Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate the many women who are contributing to the future of maritime: maintaining an engine on a ship, running a company, drawing up a contract, surveying a vessel, or chairing an IMO committee meeting.

“While there is much to celebrate, there is also the need for more progress to be made.” 

IMO is working to address the current gender imbalance in maritime and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality. IMO has a longstanding Women in Maritime program. 

In 2019, the World Maritime theme was “Empowering women in the maritime community”, with numerous activities promoting gender equality in maritime. At the end of 2019, IMO Member States at the IMO Assembly adopted a resolution pledging to ensure the legacy of 2019 would continue.  

In 2021, the IMO Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming an International Day for Women in Maritime on 18 May each year. The day celebrates women in the industry and is intended to promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector and raise the profile of women in maritime.  

Photo credit: iStock/ gorodenkoff

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