Statement from President Doumbia-Henry on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Women researchers represent less than 30% of overall science researchers around the world. In maritime sciences, only around 10% of nautical science students as well as approximately 5% of marine engineering students are female. Is this because women and girls are not interested in science? On the contrary, women are definitely interested in science! The issue is the continued existence of the cultural and structural barriers they face when pursuing a science career.

According to a survey conducted by Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) of 75 maritime education and training (MET) institutions, 24 of them reported that none of their students were women. In some countries, women and girls are unfairly treated in accessing science education. Many women face challenges in employment after their science degrees. One of the common challenges for women in science is the scissor effect with the number of women decreasing as they advance their science career. In order to stop this phenomenon, those of us in higher education must raise awareness among civil society, governments and industry to implement gender equality policies and provide a career path for women.

WMU has been actively participating in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science forSustainable Development. The next decade must see real change and progress towards gender equality in science. As the President of WMU, I invite all women and girls to consider maritime and ocean science as offering an exciting career for life. Maritime and ocean science are interdisciplinary and span a full spectrum from natural to social sciences. We need now, more than ever, to see more women making a difference in ocean sustainability through science.

Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry
World Maritime University

About the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

On 22 December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly decided to establish an annual International Day to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology, through Resolution A/RES/70/212. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on 11 February, aims to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.



Country reports from the IMO Regional Conference on the Development of a GlobalStrategy for Women Seafarers, 16-19 April 2013.

BIMCO and ICS, 2015


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