UN shipping agency urges more women to climb aboard, fuel sustainable growth

UN shipping agency urges more women to climb aboard, fuel sustainable growth

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The historically male-dominated shipping industry should clear the decks for a new generation of women, whose empowerment would help fuel economic growth, and speed up the drive towards “safe, secure, clean and sustainable shipping”.

That’s according to the International Maritime Organization, IMO, which has made empowering women the theme for this year’s World Maritime Day, celebrated on Thursday.

“This provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to highlight the important – yet under-utilized – contribution of women within the maritime sector”, said IMO.

The agency’s Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, said that “gender equality has been recognized as one of the key platforms on which people can build a sustainable future.”

“Helping our Member States achieve the SDGs and deliver the 2030 Agenda is one of our key strategic directions”, he added. “Gender equality and decent work for all are among those goals – SDGs 5 and 8 – and, although we are highlighting the role of women in the maritime community this year, I want to stress that this is part of a continuing, long-term effort in support of these objectives.”

“Women in the maritime world today are strong, powerful and constantly challenging old-fashioned perceptions”, he added. “The maritime world is changing. And for the better. With help from IMO, and other organizations, exciting and rewarding career opportunities are opening up for women. And a new generation of strong and talented women are responding. They are proving that in today’s world the maritime industries are for everyone. It’s not about your gender, it’s about what you can do,” Mr. Lim said.

In its message for the Day, IMO acknowledged that shipping “has historically been a male-dominated industry and that tradition runs long and deep. However, IMO believes that empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurs productivity and growth, and benefits every stakeholder in the global maritime community.”

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