WMUWA International Women’s Day Seminar

Upper left: Dr Olivia Swift. Bottom left: WMUWA President, Wafa' Muneer Rashed Momani.

In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) on 7 March, the World Maritime University Women’s Association (WMUWA) hosted an IWD seminar for students and staff reflecting the official IWD 2024 theme, Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.

Opening remarks were delivered by Vice President (Academic Affairs), Professor Jens-Uwe Schröder-Hinrichs. He highlighted that the Malmö MSc programme class of 2024 sets a record of 40 percent female enrolment and that the MSc programmes in both Shanghai and Dalian have achieved gender parity within recent years. Although this is progress in the right direction, there is more to be done and Professor Schröder-Hinrichs noted that WMU continues to strive for gender parity across all programmes as well as promoting the roles of women in the maritime and oceans sectors. 

Dr Olivia Swift, Senior Programme Manager, Lloyd's Register Foundation, was the keynote speaker. In her remarks, Dr Swift introduced the work of the Foundation and offered her personal reflections on the visibility of women and solutions to challenges faced by women. Key points included the importance of actions around ensuring that women in maritime occupations are safe, and debunking the notion that women don’t stay in seafaring careers. She proposed that policies need to be more gender responsive in addressing social and cultural structural barriers, and highlighted the importance of realistic short and long term actions to increase the number of women in maritime professions. Dr Swift emphasized that the overall goal is to leave no one behind, and to make work secure and meaningful to achieve a safe and sustainable maritime future for all. 

WMU Professor, Dr Momoko Kitada, made a brief presentation regarding the latest development on gender diversity at IMO and encouraged everyone to take an active role in advocating for gender equality. Marking the WMUWA 10th anniversary year, the WMUWA Secretariat presented highlights of the Association and its founding objectives which are to connect, educate and inspire women in the maritime industry and to promote the interests of female maritime professionals through the creation of an international network for women from the WMU and women involved in other internationally recognized female associations in the maritime sector.

About International Women’s Day
March 8 is annually recognized as International Women's Day (IWD). It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. IWD has been observed since the early 1900s and was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975. The WMU Women's Association (WMUWA) annually hosts an in-house lecture, based on the current theme, that is open to staff and students at WMU.

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