While it is easy to focus on one’s own geography, shipping is a global business, where an understanding of the complexities of operations is essential, and different standards may apply on what represents ‘progress’ in different locations. Addressing challenges and opportunities on a global scale demands individual regions have the support and resources they need to implement genuine change.
Over the last few years, WISTA has continued to grow both in terms of its membership and geographical reach, and one region that has experienced considerable growth is Latin America. This growth has been especially welcome, given the dynamic rise of Latin America as a shipping and trading hub, across its network of international ports and through the inland waterways which contribute so much to both the regional and global economy.
Acknowledging the region’s importance in global shipping and trading, WISTA has chosen to host next week’s AGM and annual Conference in Uruguay. This will be the first time the conference has been held in the Southern Hemisphere and it will focus on the key shipping and trading activities that make Latin America such an essential part of the global economy, while also examining the industry’s journey towards a greener and more digital future, both within Latin America and beyond.
Supporting Women in Maritime Worldwide
Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) and the role of women in shipping and trading will naturally form a key part of the discussions in Montevideo, with women becoming increasingly present and involved in the Latin American maritime industry. It is estimated that more than 25% of students in the region’s Maritime Academies are women, and there are also a growing number of women in board level positions in port authorities and other maritime businesses.
In addition, to support the next generation of women seafarers, WISTA is sponsoring 15 women from the maritime academies to attend the conference. The funding, which has been provided by the TK Foundation, will provide these women with the opportunity to meet other industry professionals and participate in the workshops and discussions taking place during the event.
Women currently still only make up 2% of the seafaring workforce and, as revealed by the IMO/WISTA Women in Maritime Survey, also only account for 29% of the overall workforce within the maritime industry.
These figures provide a stark reminder of why WISTA exists, and the continuing necessity for the work we do: we need more women in all roles and in all boardrooms. This does not detract from the progress that has been made, but only when diversity and inclusion are the starting point of discussions can we say that we have truly succeeded.
While the primary purpose of the WISTA International Conference is to bring the industry together to discuss how to address the challenges that lie ahead, it is also an opportunity to share knowledge and provide examples of how change is being enacted. We all have a role to play in securing the industry’s future, but without action, it will be impossible to achieve the change that is so urgently needed.
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