Nautilus welcomes World Maritime Day theme of empowering women

24 September 2019

Nautilus International is adding its voice to calls for greater gender diversity in the shipping industry on this year’s World Maritime Day – 26 September 2019.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has given World Maritime Day 2019 the theme of Empowering Women in the Maritime Community. In an industry where the proportion of female workers is seemingly stuck at 2-3%, this is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality in line with the United Nations' sustainable development goals.

'Nautilus has long campaigned to increase the numbers of female maritime professionals, and the IMO theme – which has run throughout 2019 – chimes with our values, ' said the Union’s head of communications Helen Kelly.

'Our members, both male and female, have told us time and again that they are tired of the old male-dominated culture in the industry and would like to see a workplace that reflects the diversity they experience in their home lives,' she continued. 'And by sticking with the old ways, many maritime employers have also been missing out on the talent pool of young women who have excelled in education. '

The Nautilus Women's Forum has for over a decade been part of the Union’s efforts to achieve a better gender balance at sea, tackling in particular the challenge of retaining women in the maritime workplace. Work to this end has included addressing the problem of bullying and harassment at sea and investigating maternity and paternity rights.

Recently, the Union has played an important role on the Women in Maritime Taskforce, a group set up by the UK shipping industry body Maritime UK to address fairness, equality and inclusion within the maritime sector. The Taskforce has established the Women in Maritime Charter, which is a framework for maritime employers to make progress on diversity, supported by a suite of 'toolkits' or resources to help companies realise their targets.

'We are glad to have World Maritime Day as an opportunity to shine a light on this work, ' said Ms Kelly, 'and are particularly pleased that in this year of women’s empowerment, our Women's Forum chair and Nautilus Council member Captain Jessica Tyson has been awarded UK shipping's highest accolade, the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service.'