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Maritime UK Makes Splash on Int'l Women’s Day

Posted by March 8, 2019

Logo courtesy of Maritime UK

Logo courtesy of Maritime UK

Maritime UK, the voice of the maritime sector, and its Women in Maritime Taskforce, will be celebrating International Women’s Day with a reception at Belfast Harbor (March 8th) to mark the launch of two new resources aimed at promoting gender diversity within the maritime sector.  

The reception will also provide an opportunity for Northern Ireland companies to sign up to the Women in Maritime Pledge, which states: “We are committed to building an employment culture that actively supports and celebrates gender diversity, at all levels, throughout our organization and our industry.” Since launching, over 100 companies have signed the pledge.

Maritime UK established its Women in Maritime Taskforce last year to address fairness, equality and inclusion within the maritime sector. The Taskforce brings together leaders from across the maritime sector to identify practical steps to increase the number of women in maritime, and crucially within senior roles across its shipping, ports, services, engineering and leisure marine industries.

The two new resources have been created to respond to specific challenges companies have raised in their mission to improve diversity. Namely, too few women speakers at industry conferences and a lack of gender diversity in new recruits.  

The first resource is a ‘Speaker Bank’ comprising of women speakers. The initiative will provide a database of women speakers for panels and conferences. Through its work, the Taskforce heard that many conference organizers claimed they were unable to identify women to speak on a relevant topic at events. The speaker bank will tag speakers with areas of expertise.

Shipping Innovation, organizer of London International Shipping Week, has come onboard as a sponsor and will promote the speaker bank to Sponsors and Supporting Organizations holding events during LISW19, due to be held in London from September 9-13.  

Maritime UK will also be organizing a series of public speaking workshops to help support more women to join the speaker bank.

The second resource will be an ‘Interview Pool’, which will loan maritime women to companies that may lack diversity on interview panels. Research by the Taskforce identified that more diverse interview panels or panels with HR professionals with diversity training are more likely to recruit a diverse workforce. However, several smaller companies in particular highlighted that they do not have access to such recruiters within their staff. The interview pool will provide a facility for these companies to access relevant skills and expertise.  

Sue Terpilowski OBE, Chair of the Taskforce, said: “By taking this proactive approach of helping organizers to find speakers through our pool we believe we are solving a problem. We knew there were qualified and experienced women within the industry who would enhance any panel, finding them was the issue. So now, there should be no excuses not to have gender balanced panels. This will not only enable the audience to gain a good broad insight into the issues being discussed but clearly also shows that women are making an impact within the industry and are good role models to everyone.”

Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani, said: “I want to see more women enjoy a career at sea or on shore. Recruitment can often be the first point candidates encounter the maritime sector, and it is vital our ambition for greater diversity is reflected at this stage.

“This is just one example of the fantastic progress being made by the Women in Maritime Taskforce to open up this industry to everyone, no matter their gender or background.”

The event will run from 13:00-15:00 on Friday 8th March at Belfast Harbor.

Maritime UKNorthern IrelandNusrat Ghani

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