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IMO to launch Women in Maritime Association for the Caribbean

Published:Tuesday | April 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM

IMO to launch Women in Maritime Association for the Caribbean

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will launch its seventh Women in Maritime Association (WIMA) chapter in the Caribbean at an inaugural conference to be held in Jamaica from April 13-17, 2015.

This is in keeping with the IMO's gender programme which was launched some 27 years ago.

The conference, which will be held under the auspices of the IMO, is aimed at supporting the efforts of the Caribbean region to deepen the integration of women in the maritime sector through the establishment of WIMA for the Caribbean. The IMO currently has WIMA in the Middle East and North Africa, Asia, Philippines, East and Southern Africa.

One of the drivers of the programme has been the establishment of formal regional linkages between women managers in the maritime and port sectors, to provide a permanent channel for the exchange of information.

The IMO's decision to establish a WIMA in the Caribbean came against the background of Jamaica's participation in the second International Conference on Maritime Women Global Leadership, which was

hosted by the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden, from March 31 to April 1, 2014. Jamaica was invited to participate and present the Regional Perspective of the Caribbean, and prepared a paper for presentation titled 'Women in the Maritime Sector: Surviving and Thriving in a Man's World - a Caribbean Perspective'.

The findings and recommendations of this paper were informed by a survey conducted over eight of the Caribbean States, and involved some 40 female maritime professionals from various sectors of the industry.

need identified

One of the recommendations emanating from the survey was the need for the establishment of a national/regional association. A very significant 80 per cent of the participants surveyed expressed the need for such an association, which would, inter alia:

• Be a primary forum for networking through the hosting of conferences, seminars on gender issues and industry development.

• Establish an effective communication network to facilitate ongoing dialogue and the sharing of ideas and best practices among women in the sector.

• Monitor standards and initiatives to encourage gender equity in employment, performance and qualifications opportunities at all levels.

• Promote the maritime sector as a viable career option for women in the Caribbean.

• Identify and promote the job opportunities in the industry to facilitate career advancement of women.

• Foster the establishment of organisational mechanisms that orient

and support women in the maritime sector.

The decision to establish the Caribbean chapter came after the Maritime Authority of Jamaica made representation on behalf of the region.

The objectives of the conference are to:

• Establish a regional cooperation network that promotes information exchange, training and institutional strengthening and stimulate the integration and participation of women in the ports and maritime community of the Caribbean;

• Enhance national/regional recognition of the role of women in the port and maritime sector of the Caribbean with a view to contributing to the implementation of IMO instruments through regional maritime strategies;

• Strengthen the cooperation network among women in the port and maritime sector in the region; and

• Increase employment opportunities for women in national maritime administrations, port authorities and maritime training

institutions.

The official invitation

letters from the IMO have been sent to some 24 States of the region.