Reports by Serah Lagdom
STRENGTHENING, empowering and giving equal opportunities for women in the maritime industry across the Pacific Region remains the top priority for the industry, with organisations and government agencies implementing gender-related programmes for the advancement of women in the industry.
One such organisation promoting gender equality in its programmes is the International Maritime
Through its gender and capacity-building programme, the IMO has fostered regional cooperation through the establishment of seven networks for women in maritime in Africa, Arab States, Asia,Caribbean, Latin America and of course, the Pacific.
IMO Head Asia and Pacific Section Technical Cooperation Division Bekir Ustaoglu said the relaunching of the Pacific Women in Maritime Association (PacWIMA) in Tonga in 2016, has seen the association prove its impact as the principal interactive forum for Pacific women in the maritime industry.
Speaking during the week long events of the third Domestic Ship Safety Forum, the Regional Conference for Pacific Women in Maritime and the Regional Workshop on ISM Code in Port Moresby last week, Ustaoglu said the PacWIMA was first launched by the IMO in2005.
“One of the success stories of PacWIMA so far is the strong national chapters that have been established under your auspices.
“These national chapters feed into PacWIMA’s regional governance,in line with the UN bottom up approach, giving a voice to the women involved at the grass-roots level, a message reflected through the policy decisions taken at thepolitical level,” he said.
He thanked the PNG Government and the Pacific Community for the excellent organisation ofthis forum, adding this was the platform where the IMO was tryingto obtain direct input from all stakeholders in matters related tothe safety of domestic ferries.The South Pacific Community (SPC) Deputy Director, Oceans and Maritime, Thierry Nervale also iterated the need for better coordination and support for women in the maritime industry acrossthe region.
“I cannot take part in this event if I do not raise more strongly the need to maintain efforts to progress gender equality in maritime and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal number 5,”
Nervale said SPC has always conducted programmes for gender and equal access to development opportunities but also to end violence against women.
He said this was more than relevant in a male-dominated sector like maritime.“You will note that the Regional Conference for Pacific Women in Maritime this year is not an independent and isolated event for women between women.
“It is a joint event with the domestic ship safety forum and most of the male participants will attend the conference for Pacific Womenin Maritime,” he said.
“With our female colleagues, we need to champion any initiative related to gender equality in the maritime industry.
“SPC calls this week for maritime administrations to provide all necessary support to women in maritime networks at the regional and national levels and beyond that, be proactive in facilitating access to the highest level of the maritime sector through capacity building and staff retention policies.
“May I challenge you and ask for this strong support when you will acknowledge the efforts made in the past two years by the region and by Papua New Guinea Womenin Maritime Association and NMSA since 2005,” he said.
The week long forum focused on two issues: Acknowledging the Pacific region’s progress and reaffirming member countries’ commitments towards safer domestic shipping; and, acknowledging the latest developments and commitments for gender equality in maritime and decide on more actions and support to women in maritime.
Reports by Serah Lagdom