"The bottom line is that doubling your talent pool just makes sense", said Chris Trelawny, International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s special Adviser on Maritime Security, as he opened the Women in Maritime Security conference held at IMO Headquarters (24 May).
Women are increasingly present at sea, as they defy traditional expectations. Their full and meaningful participation in the economy, political decision-making, and society is key to addressing maritime challenges, but gender equity in the maritime space is too often overlooked.
The One Earth Future foundation, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) hosted "Women, Peace, and Maritime Security: Equal Opportunities in Maritime Security".
The event brought together experts from the maritime and security sector to discuss the importance of women in maritime security, obstacles to women's participation, and how to integrate the women, peace, and security agenda into the maritime space.
"If women can't be seen, they can't be applauded, and therefore they can't be seen as a resource," said Helen Buni, who leads the Women in Maritime programme at IMO. This programme aims to meet the sustainable development goals, particularly goal 5, to help create an environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes.
The conference featured high level panellists and also heard insightful and engaging comments including Sue Terpilowski from Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA). She said, "Companies that have a diverse board have more money for their shareholders." One Earth Future President Larry Sampler said, "diversity, particularly gender diversity, in any workforce improves the quality of that workforce, particularly if the job requires intellectual thought and strategic vision."
The event left the audience with a positive message, highlighting the importance of women in maritime and encouraging more conversation for gender equality in the maritime space.