By Jorunn Eldøy, Mintra, a long-standing member of the Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association (WISTA) Jorunn Eldøy, Sales Director – Maritime
Today, only little more than 1 per cent of the global seafaring workforce is female. Whilst this is an impressive 45 per cent jump from 2015, much work remains to be undertaken to attract, train and retain women in the maritime workforce.
The maritime industry must prioritise high quality and easily accessible training to create a diverse futureproof workforce. A long list of what have historically been known as soft skills, are now essential to meet the demands of the increasingly digitised and automised industry. This shift in requirements has already opened up many additional avenues for women to enter the maritime workforce.
It is also crucial for the industry to remain consistent in building awareness and delivering additional training to tackle harassment and bullying. The industry must nurture a working environment where women feel safe and welcomed. The IMO has recently announced that it will establish a joint group to tackle bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and harassment, in the maritime sector. It is clear that the stamping out of any such behaviours holds the key to diversification.
Currently, just over 24,000 women serve as seafarers globally. As alternative skills such as big data and artificial intelligence become fundamental in shipping, opening the door to many more women, we can hope to see the rapid multiplication of this figure. It is at the hands of the industry to provide seafarers with sufficient support and training to facilitate the growth of a diverse workforce.