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2024's International Day for Women in Maritime (IDWIM) has a focus on safety, which will be the topic of discussion at symposiums and seminars in the UK ahead of the annual day on 18 May.

The global day, put in place by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), aims to promote the recruitment, retention and empowerment of women in the sector, as well as a barrier-free work environment. Safety of women in maritime has becoming an increasing focus internationally in order to encourage more diversity in the industry. According to the IMO, 27% of the overall maritime workforce ashore are women, with only a further 2% being women working at sea.

On Friday 17 May, IMO will host an international symposium at its headquarters in London to explore how safety and gender is being addressed, under the theme Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety. The event will be livestreamed on IMO's YouTube Channel.

Seafarers, maritime professionals and maritime leaders will address the topic of 'reframing maritime safety through a woman's lens'.

The symposium will also hear from the Diversity@Sea project launched in 2023 by the Global Maritime Forum's cross-industry All Aboard Alliance.  This project aimed to have 11 shipping companies each piloting a series of measures onboard one of the vessels in their fleet to promote inclusivity – including being crewed by at least four women.  The pilot evolved from 115 interviews with seafarers that resulted in the 15 Key Pain Points for Women at Sea report.

IMO secretary-general Arsenio Dominguez said: 'The maritime sector offers a multitude of prospects for women, spanning from seafaring to engineering, from law to logistics, and beyond. We must lead by example, serving as role models striving to create inclusive, empowering and safe work environments for women.'

Awardee: Ms Theodosiou

After the symposium, the first-ever IMO Gender Equality Award will be presented to a former president of the Women's International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International), Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou.

Ms Theodosiou was selected by the IMO Council in November 2023 for her work to advance gender equality and empowering women throughout her tenure.

In-person participation in the event is open to representatives from Member States, observer organizations (intergovernmental and non-governmental) and the United Nations and its specialized agencies.

On Thursday 16 May, Maritime UK is also celebrating the IMO Day, with a safety seminar and round table discussion in Portsmouth at a face to face event from 11:00 to 14:00, which it is co-hosting with the Royal Navy. Speakers include representatives of the RNLI, WISTA, Maritime UK and the Royal Navy.

For security reasons, registrations for the Maritime UK event needed to have been made here by 8 May 2024.


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