A report from the International Shipping News.
A new mentorship scheme to encourage the next generation of women into the maritime sector has been launched at the annual conference of the Women in Maritime Association, Caribbean (WiMAC), which is being held in Belize City, Belize (16-19 October). This type of scheme is consistent with IMO’s Women in Maritime programme, which supports the participation of women in both shore-based and sea-going posts, in line with the goals outlined under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. The mentorship model will be used as a blueprint throughout the IMO-supported regional Women in Maritime Associations.
The WiMAC meeting also discussed ways to increase the visibility of the network, how to promote career progression, maritime education of women and how to increase equal opportunities for women in the industry. As well as SDG 5 on gender equality, the association has pledged its commitment to achieving the targets under SDG 14 on the oceans – which has particular relevance to the Caribbean region – and SDG 17 on partnerships. WiMAC plans to increase awareness of the maritime sector in the next generation by working to get maritime topics added to the curriculum for high schools in the region. Female high school students had the chance to attend part of the conference where they were introduced to maritime career options.
The WiMAC annual conference is meeting under the theme “Charting the course for generations of women”. Group workshops looked at gender mainstreaming and how to empower women. Participants come from 15 Caribbean countries and territories, including cadets, coast guard officials, port state control officers, maritime lawyers and other positions within the maritime private sector. The conference elected a new Governing Council for WiMAC.
The new logo for IMO’s Women in Maritime programme was unveiled during the conference. The 2019 World Maritime Day theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community” will give additional impetus to all the Women in Maritime Associations to raise awareness of their activities.
IMO has supported the creation of seven regional associations for women in the maritime sector in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands. These associations are made up of female maritime professionals and provide a forum for networking, exchange of ideas and initiatives on industry developments, while motivating and empowering women through training.