International Day Of The Seafarer: Empowering Women In The Maritime Community

by Lindsay Price

On April 4-5, 2019, I had the chance to travel to Malmö, Sweden and participate in the 3rd World Maritime University (WMU) International Women’s conference on Empowering Women in the Maritime Community. There were over 350 participants representing more than 70 countries.

The conference opened with welcoming remarks by Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, president of WMU. She stated that in 2008, the maritime industry was the most underrepresented industry for women in the world, with only 1-2% of all actively sailing mariners being female. Now, more than 10 years later, that number remains the same. Some of the goals she talked about were removing structural barriers and no woman left behind. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) along with WMU is strongly committed in helping the United Nations achieve the 2030 agenda.

The 2030 agenda for sustainable development adopted by all United Nations Member States include 17 sustainable development goals which are an urgent call for action by all countries. Goal number 5, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, was the highlight of the conference combined with the IMO’s 2019 theme Empowering Women in the Maritime Community.

Throughout the conference we heard from men and women supporting women in the industry, and discussing how to make the industry more appealing for women to stay at sea. By conference end we left feeling empowered and awakened to the goals set by the IMO.

On this June 25th, as we celebrate International Day of the Seafarer, I encourage everyone to spread the word about gender equality and attend conferences such as the one in Malmö. It’s an honor to be a part of this movement and I’m excited to see how far the Maritime Industry has come and will go in the future.

#IAmOnBoard can be used by anyone engaging in the campaign, male or female, to show their solidarity for gender equality in seafaring. 

Women who are actively sailing who attended the conference. Left to right: Captain Lindsay M Price, 1st Officer Nicholine Tifuh Azith, Captain Wendy Williams, Captain Hanna Odengrund, Captain Marlin Anderson, Captain Kate McCue, 1st Officer Agnes Olsson, Captain Linda Svenson

Women who are actively sailing who attended the conference. Left to right: Captain Lindsay M Price, 1st Officer Nicholine Tifuh Azith, Captain Wendy Williams, Captain Hanna Odengrund, Captain Marlin Anderson, Captain Kate McCue, 1st Officer Agnes Olsson, Captain Linda Svenson