World Maritime Day 2019: Recognising gender equality
On September 26, Jamaica joined the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the global shipping and maritime community to celebrate the annual World Maritime Day under the theme ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’.
“Gender equality has been recognised as one of the key platforms on which people can build a sustainable future. It is one of the 17 goals that underpin the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda, which countries all over the world have pledged to implement,” said IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim, speaking about the international celebration.
“Helping our member states achieve the strategic development goals (SDG) and deliver the 2030 Agenda is one of our key strategic directions. Gender equality and decent work for all are among those goals – SDGs five and eight – 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,” Lim said.
Jamaica, through the leadership of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica and with partner institutions, including the Shipping Association of Jamaica (and its members), typically celebrate with an entire week of activities, and this year is no different. The week started with a church service at Saxthorpe Methodist Church, which was also celebrating its own Women’s Day. On Monday and Tuesday, the Caribbean Maritime University hosted an exhibition of maritime careers and opportunities and included a Girls’ Day focus. Successful women presented on ways that girls could join the women worldwide who have taken on careers in land- and sea-based maritime and shipping fields.
IMO’s Women in Maritime programme has pledged to support the empowerment of women in the maritime sector in years to come, through gender-specific fellowships; by facilitating access to high-level technical training for women in the maritime sector in developing countries; by creating the environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes; and by facilitating the establishment of professional women in maritime associations, particularly in developing countries.
Jamaica’s own Women in Maritime chapter, which is a part of the larger Women in Maritime Association Caribbean, launched a mentorship programme on Thursday. The aim of the launch was twofold – to formalise some relationships which currently exist between successful shipping and maritime professionals and their mentees in the field, and to bring would-be mentors together with would-be mentees. It is well known that mentorship is a bedrock of successful succession planning and Jamaica’s plans to become a major global logistics sector are best achieved if leadership is deliberately honed.
“Women in the maritime world today are strong, powerful and constantly challenging old-fashioned perceptions. Experience tells us that diversity is better; it’s better for teamwork, better for leadership – and better for commercial performance. The maritime world is changing – and for the better. With help from IMO, and other organisations, 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,” Lim said.