IMO is boosting diversity by training future female maritime leaders

The leadership accelerator program aims to equip women with the leadership skills and confidence to take a seat at the shipping decision-making table.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will sponsor a number of women from developing countries to follow a new maritime leadership program, as part of the Organization’s ongoing work to support gender diversity in the maritime sector.

The initiative was announced during the recent first Maritime SheEO conference.  Maritime SheEO works towards creating the next generation of female maritime leaders.  Its leadership accelerator program aims to equip women with the leadership skills and confidence to take a seat at the shipping decision-making table.

Speaking at the opening session, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim emphasized the importance of female representation and diversity in the maritime sector and beyond. “Empowering women fuels thriving economies across the world, spurs growth and development, and benefits everyone working in the global maritime community and beyond,” he said.

Helen Buni, representing IMO’s Women in Maritime program, said IMO sponsorship would enable the selected women from government administrations to benefit from the leadership scheme, which will include training, mentoring and networking opportunities. 

This is in line with IMO’s goal to help the maritime sector to move forward and to promote women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. This scheme will complement access to high-level technical training courses, under which IMO sponsors female participants each year. 

The leadership program is expected to be fully launched by International Women’s Day (IWD), 8 March 2021. The 2021 IWD theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing inequalities and threatening to halt or reverse the gains of decades of collective effort – with data revealing that the pandemic will push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line. 

The world is also witnessing increased reports on violence against women throughout the world due to the lockdowns, and women losing their livelihoods faster, because they are more exposed to hard‑hit economic sectors. Turning this around is a priority for the United Nations (UN) and for IMO, as part of the UN family.

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