The IMO has sponsored 30 women from developing countries to participate in the programme, chosen from the eight IMO Women in Maritime Associations and Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) International.
The eight-week programme will require 3-4 hours of weekly learning.
“The women who graduate from this program will gain insight and understanding, they will have extra tools to approach their careers and business challenges. They will hopefully have greater drive and opportunity. They will have more confidence in their ability and the future of our industry. They will be able to show leadership, and be role models and mentors in their own right,” said WISTA International president Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou at a webinar launching the programme on March 8.
“Shipping needs new thinking and new ways of addressing future and existing challenges. It also requires leadership that is fit for purpose and ready to do things differently and take calculated risks. It needs people with the confidence to take those steps. The women who have applied for and will work through and finish this course will present this change,” Theodosiou said.
IMO secretary general Kitack Lim, said: “Women leaders are vital for the future of the maritime industry. We must take steps to make the industry more welcoming and to support women on their career path. I am always committed to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals; this includes call five which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and the girls.
“These days we must offer valuable networking and mentoring opportunities that can enhance the careers of women around the globe. The IMO benefits from the work of those capable and skilled women who guide the complex discussions and deliver excellent work within their national and regional bodies, as well as at some of our committees and subcommittees. The IMO assembly has adopted a resolution urging continuing action in the coming years to advance gender equality throughout the maritime sector to reach a barrier-free environment.”
Participants in the programme joined the webinar and shared their current career progress, aspirations and their expectations from the course.
Marine Engineer Nadine Said from Egypt said she hoped to gain the skills to overcome difficult situations, improve productivity of female seafarers and improve the emotional intelligence of crews and their engagement.
Others in roles from law to quality management, engineering to regulation said they hoped to share their experiences from the programme to empower other women in the industry.
ICS secretary general Guy Platten said that change requires commitment from the leadership of any company, and trickles down from management. “With just 2% of the maritime workforce being women, we’re missing out on so much talent. This figure has remained stagnant for far too many years and we need to do something about this and make change. We at ICS champion women in the industry, and we help to ensure they are visible, we try and amplify female voices,” said Platten.
“The students of today will be the teacher of tomorrow,” said Lim.