Highlighting the lower visibility of women in the global maritime industry, the High Commissioner said that among the 1.2 million certified seafarers worldwide, women represent only 1.28 percent
In a resounding celebration of progress towards gender equality in the maritime industry, a high-level panel discussion titled ‘Empowering Women in Maritime and Oceans Diplomacy’ recently took place at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London. The event was organized by the Bangladesh High Commission, London, and showcased the remarkable strides made in empowering women in this traditionally male-dominated sector. Speakers at the discussion lavished praise on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership for her unwavering commitment to promoting gender diversity in maritime roles, including the induction of women in the marine academy.
Awareness on Gender Disparities
High Commissioner Tasneem, who also serves as the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the IMO and President of the Women in Diplomacy Network (WDN) in London, highlighted the stark gender disparities in the maritime industry.
Among the 1.2 million certified seafarers worldwide, women currently represent a mere 1.28 percent. Additionally, women’s participation in the crewing workforce in the cruise industry is a mere 2.0 percent.
She acknowledged the visionary leadership of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, which has led to the recruitment of over 100 female seafarers and mariners each year, encompassing roles such as Navigation Officers, Marine Engineers, and even senior management positions like Captain. These efforts, she emphasized, have been transformative in breaking gender barriers in the traditionally male-dominated maritime sector.
PM Hasina’s Visionary Initiatives
High Commissioner Tasneem proudly highlighted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s groundbreaking decision to induct women cadets at the Marine Industry. She stated, “Due to the Prime Minister’s visionary leadership, over 100 female seafarers and mariners are recruited annually for a range of roles, including Navigation Officers, Marine Engineers, and even senior management positions such as Captain. These transformative efforts have made a significant impact in promoting gender diversity in the traditionally male-dominated maritime industry.” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s unwavering support for women’s participation in maritime careers has set a shining example for the world to follow.
Commitment to Gender Equality
High Commissioner Tasneem expressed the strong commitment of the Women in Diplomacy Network (WDN) to work in close collaboration with the IMO Secretariat, fellow IMO members, the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International), Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs), and leading shipping industry associations like BIMCO. Their shared goal is to promote gender equality and amplify the voices of women in the maritime sector.
Panel of Experts
The panel discussion featured an impressive lineup of experts and diplomats, including Dorota Lost Sieminska, Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, and esteemed representatives from countries such as the Maldives, Georgia, Antigua and Barbuda, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Argentina, and the United States. Their insights and experiences further underscored the importance of empowering women in maritime and oceans diplomacy.
Women Mariners and Seafarers
During the event, a documentary prepared by the Bangladesh High Commission in London was showcased. The documentary shed light on the remarkable contributions of women mariners and seafarers in Bangladesh and globally. The documentary received special attention and praise from the participants for its enlightening portrayal of the role of women in the maritime industry.
- The high-level discussion at the event featured prominent panelists, including:
- Dorota Lost Sieminska, Director, Legal Affairs and External Relations Division.
- Dr. Farah Faizal, High Commissioner of Maldives to the UK.
- Sophie Kastrava, Ambassador and PR to the IMO for Georgia.
- Karen-Mae Hill OBE, High Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda.
- Ambassador Nancy W Karigithu, Principal Secretary, State Department for Shipping and Maritime, Kenya.
- Ms. Maryanne Adams, Technical Adviser of Marshall Island to IMO and Chair of IMO subcommittee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers.
- Fernanda Millicay, PR of Argentina to the IMO.
- Jared Banks, US PR to the IMO.
- Ms. Hayat Al Yabis, APR of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Ms. Elizabeth Stewart, Editor of Embassy magazine London.
These distinguished panelists shared insights, experiences, and recommendations on how to bridge the gender gap in maritime and oceans diplomacy, emphasizing the importance of fostering a more inclusive and equitable maritime industry.
In conclusion, the high-level panel discussion on ‘Empowering Women in Maritime and Oceans Diplomacy’ served as a platform to acknowledge the remarkable strides made in promoting gender diversity within the maritime industry. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership and the collective efforts of organizations like the Women in Diplomacy Network are paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable maritime sector, where women’s contributions are both celebrated and valued.