WMU Contributes to Women in Shipping Conference - Nigeria

On 19 July, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of the World Maritime University (WMU), delivered a keynote address on the Future of Shipping: Weathering the Storms, Sailing High for the Women in Shipping and Maritime Conference, organized by the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping.

Participating by video conferencing, President Doumbia-Henry remarked that ​​despite the persistence of gender inequality, female champions, role models and success stories exist in every sector of the maritime and ocean community. However, the numbers are still not near the gender parity sought through Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

“It is obvious that existing interventions will not suffice to achieve a Planet 50-50 by 2030. Innovative approaches that disrupt “business as usual” are central to removing structural barriers and ensuring that no woman, no girl is left behind,” said Dr. Doumbia-Henry. She noted an important development when the IMO Assembly, at its 32nd Session (6-15 December 2021) adopted a resolution proclaiming an International Day for Women in Maritime, to be observed on 18 May every year.

Dr. Doumbia-Henry reiterated WMU’s commitment to to educate the maritime and ocean leaders and professionals of today and tomorrow, and especially to empower women in maritime, highlighting six critical actions that should be prioritized:

1. Post the pandemic, undertake a new study that would provide the most up to date information and data on the number of women in maritime and oceans fields across all sectors and the positions they occupy.

2. Affirmative action in capacity building should be taken to support Gender Empowerment for the Decade of Ocean Science.

3. A network platform must be established to address gender empowerment, learning and sharing best practice in a knowledge hub and build support.

4. A solid engagement of all stakeholders should be put in place in consultation with women and minorities.

5. Education and training initiatives and partnerships should be pursued that promote gender rights and equality in the maritime and ocean communities.

6. Enhanced collaborative opportunities to work together should be actively pursued to support the effective implementation of UN SDG Goal 5 (Gender) and Goal 14 (Oceans

Dr. Doumbia-Henry called for increasing support from partners worldwide to enable more women to be maritime and ocean professionals and to study at WMU, thereby increasing the number of qualified women eligible for policy-making and senior practitioner positions in both developed and developing countries. She made a rallying cry: “Let us all continue to be the unswerving advocates of the role of women in the maritime and ocean sectors and let us all - women and men - lead for change.”

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