March 8, 2022, London. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), in collaboration with the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA International) and Maritime SheEO, are delighted to announce the launch of the Maritime SheEO Leadership Accelerator Programme 2022.
The programme was launched on Tuesday March 8, 2022 during a live webinar focussing on “The Next Generation Of Women Leaders In Engine Rooms, Bridges and Board Rooms”. The webinar also marked the UN International Women’s Day 2022, which this year is being held under the banner of “Gender Equality Today For A Sustainable Tomorrow” and a key message to #BreakTheBias.
The Maritime SheEO Leadership Accelerator Programme launches at a time when the industry recognises that it needs more women leaders. It was specially curated and designed to provide management knowledge and skills to help women in the maritime industry move into leadership roles.
Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization addressed the webinar and said that the maritime industry is working to transition to a more sustainable future. He acknowledged that diversity in leadership is good for business and that woman leaders are vital for the future of maritime.
The IMO has been working to facilitate gender equality in maritime since 1988 and is committed to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 5 to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The IMO gender and capacity-building programme is dedicated to helping achieve “Training-Visibility-Recognition” of women in maritime.
During his speech, Mr Lim also mentioned the 18th of May, when the IMO celebrates the inaugural International Day of Women in Maritime. The day will provide an annual platform to recognise women in the industry, promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector, raise the profile of women in maritime as well as to strengthen IMO’s commitment to gender equality and support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime.
Despina Pan. Theodosiou, President, WISTA International welcomed the 2022 cohort, saying, “The women who will begin this programme represent our future. Some are already in roles of some authority and leadership, others aspiring to gain further recognition and position in their careers. They seek what any career-inspired individual at work seeks but often find they do not have the opportunities to do so. This course will help fill that gap. Our objective is that we should increasingly build up gender and diversity awareness, where leaders do not choose their workforce based on gender, colour or ethnicity, but on capability and being fit for the job.”
It is a recognised that in Maritime, as with other sectors, the higher one climbs, the fewer women leaders one sees in leadership positions. The Maritime SheEO Leadership Accelerator Programme was developed with the assistance of key industry experts working with IMO and WISTA. It will enable women to become part of an active and trustworthy network of female executives who support and inspire each other along their leadership journey.
Sanjam Gupta, Founder, Maritime SheEO commented on the launch, “Women leaders will bring skills, different perspectives, and innovative ideas that lead to better decision-making as a whole for the business. Especially for the younger generation, the power of role models cannot be overlooked. This important programme aims at helping women reach their untapped potential. We are delighted that the IMO is furthering their commitment by offering 30 global scholarships to women in the maritime industry to enable us to reach this goal. This project would not be possible without the collaboration and support of WISTA International. Together we can drive change”.
It is anticipated that this initial programme marks the start of a regular schedule which will be conducted in English, the universally accepted language in maritime. The Leadership Accelerator Programme includes self-study modules and project presentations by the participants, culminating in an online graduation. Places are available to members of IMO Women in Maritime Associations and National WISTA Associations. All 30 places in this first cohort are sponsored by IMO. This global initiative will also help to create visible role models and pave the way for more women to enter and aspire to apply for leadership and Board positions.
The webinar discussed the importance of the Maritime SheEO Leadership Accelerator Programme as a springboard for women within maritime. Keynote speakers included Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO; Mrs. Sanjam Gupta, Founder, Maritime SheEO; Mrs. Despina Pan. Theodosiou, President, WISTA International, and Mrs Fabiana Martins, WISTA International Executive. Dr Momoko Kitada of World Maritime University moderated the discussions.