Today, women represent only two percent of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers. To help increase these numbers, Canadian shipowners as well as international shipping organizations have launched new initiatives to highlight career opportunities for women as well as the contributions they are already making in a wide range of maritime professions.
#IamOnBoard with gender equality
The theme for the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) annual International Day of the Seafarer was I am on Board with Gender Equality. This campaign was designed for both men and women to show their solidarity for gender equality in seafaring.
Later this autumn, the theme of the IMO’s World Maritime Day will be Empowering Women in the Maritime Community. IMO supports gender equality and the empowerment of women through gender specific fellowships; by facilitating access to high-level technical training for women in the maritime sector in developing countries; and creating the environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports, and maritime training institutes.
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Working closely with maritime colleges and industry
Canadian post-secondary institutions and the maritime industry are also increasing their efforts to encourage more women to choose maritime careers and to support workplace diversity and wellbeing.
Fourth engineer Cassandra Ritchie completed the Marine Engineering program at BCIT and believes in showcasing women already working in the industry will help bring others on board. She says, “I just love this job. It’s not just a job, it’s a way of life. You work, you sleep, you live, you make friends.”
Cassandra adds, “I think the more women are exposed to other women working in this industry, the more they will see the opportunity for themselves.”
Read the full story via Chamber of Marine Commerce and hear from other women who are in the industry.
Interested in a marine career? Learn more about marine programs available at BCIT.