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An Overview of Women in Maritime Shipping: Empowering Women in the Shipping Industry

The shipping industry for thousands of years has been male-dominated. In recent decades, women have made more progress than ever to challenge the status-quo in the maritime industry.

Over the past twenty years, the shipping industry has seen itself transformed with a much-larger percentage of its workforce being filled by women. Today, female workers cover many areas of shipping, including navigation, management, engineering, and more. Women have made it into major leadership positions, with a number of inspiring women proving that success is possible and not gender-specific. Women have brought efficiency and integrity to shipping.

The IMO and WISTA International are Giving Women a Voice in Shipping

The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International) is an international networking organization with a clear mission: attract and support women, at the management level, in the maritime, trading and logistics sectors.

First granted formal consultative status with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2018, WISTA uses its unique role to promote diversity, inclusion, and women’s empowerment in the area of maritime shipping. WISTA is a leading organization that is a key part of all women’s empowerment and workplace equality conversations.

According to the IMO, WISTA’s efforts “support the overarching principles in IMO’s Strategic Plan, especially the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is envisaged that WISTA will play a vital role helping IMO reach out to women in the maritime industry.”

The IMO in recent years started the International Day for Women in Maritime.

May 18, 2022 marked the first-ever International Day for Women in Maritime. The event is intended to address the problem of gender imbalance in the maritime industry and provided a platform to emphasize and celebrate the role of women seafarers and address the issues of gender imbalance in this sector.

Actually, in order to explain the soul of women in the maritime industry, it is enough to ask this question: Why are ships called “She”? Many historians and maritime experts also believe that a partial explanation for why a ship is labeled with a feminine pronoun is the traditional belief that a woman is associated with elegance and grace.

There is a more major and impressive reason than the above that sailors of the past dedicated ships to goddesses and mother figures who were thought to be playing a protective role to the ship. Since they have motherly instincts, females give a sense of nurturing and protection. People abroad a ship are taken care of until they arrive at their destination.


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