International Day for Women in Maritime 2024

On 18 May, the maritime industry annually celebrates the International Day for Women in Maritime to promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector, raise the profile of women in maritime, strengthen the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) and support work to address the current gender imbalance in the maritime workforce. 

Reflecting on the 2024 theme of “Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety,” Professor Maximo Q. Mejia, Jr., WMU President, said, “As the International Maritime Organization’s global centre of excellence in maritime and ocean education, research, and capacity-building, the World Maritime University is unequivocally committed to promoting the roles of women in the maritime industry and advocating for equal opportunities. A sustainable future for the maritime sector will require the invaluable participation of women from across the world who will contribute to shaping our industry with their expertise. The Maritime sector offers a multitude of career opportunities, and an inclusive and diverse workforce and society benefits us all. Each of us bears a responsibility to break down barriers and foster gender parity. On the International Day for Women in Maritime, our focus is on broadening diversity and inclusivity within the maritime sector specifically, all the while keeping sight of the overarching aspiration of a universally inclusive society where every individual enjoys equal recognition and opportunity.”

IMO Symposium - Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety

As part of the International Day for Women in Maritime celebrations, WMU contributed to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Symposium at IMO headquarters in London on 17 May. Professor Momoko Kitada, Head of the Maritime Education and Training Specialization and expert on gender equality in the maritime industry, participated as a speaker in the fireside chat that focused on the topic of A Holistic Approach to Safety at Sea. For more information about the event and to register, click here. 

WMU & Advancing Gender Equality in Maritime and Ocean Professions

Through its well established education, capacity building and research agenda, and recognizing that all the goals are interrelated and indivisible, the World Maritime University (WMU) is committed to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly Goal 5 focused on Gender Equality. The University continually pursues efforts to increase the number of women enrolled across all programmes offered. In addition, WMU conducts research on gender-related issues in the maritime and oceans realm, including through programmes dedicated to empowering women

As WMU continues to improve gender balance in maritime and ocean-related fields, female student representation at WMU has improved substantially from 3% in 1983 to a current record of 40 percent women in the Class of 2025 MSc in Maritime Affairs programme delivered in Malmö, Sweden, while the WMU MSc specializations delivered in Shanghai and Dalian, China, have achieved the milestones of gender parity. Through recruitment strategies and support from fellowship donors, the proportion of female students and faculty continues to increase. To date, there are 1,396 female graduates from WMU out of the overall 6,087 graduates from 170 countries and territories. 

In further support of gender equality, through generous support of donors, WMU is engaged in a research and capacity building Programme on Empowering Women for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The programme was officially endorsed as an Ocean Action by IOC-UNESCO during the official launch of the Decade. WMU is committed to contributing and facilitating the empowerment of women in the conduct of ocean science, as well as in delivering science-based decision-making processes in ocean governance systems.

In support of advancing women in the maritime and ocean professions, in 2019, WMU organized the Third International Conference on Empowering Women in the Maritime Community. The Conference, which was attended by 350 participants from 70 countries, identified 17 actions that could be taken to advance gender balance in the maritime and oceans sector. The key conclusions included promoting women role models, engaging with children in primary and secondary education to raise awareness of career opportunities in the industry for women and securing priority funding for gender research. 

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