2024 International Day for Women in Maritime to highlight women’s role in maritime safety


The crucial role of women in ensuring maritime safety will be celebrated worldwide on this year’s International Day for Women in Maritime. Observed globally each year on 18 May, International Day for Women in Maritime (IDWIM) aims to promote the recruitment, retention and empowerment of women in the sector, as well as a barrier-free work environment.

Ahead of the day, the IMO will host an international symposium on Friday, 17 May at IMO headquarters in London, under the theme ‘Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety.’ The event will be livestreamed on IMO’s Youtube Channel.

The symposium will feature a line-up of distinguished seafarers, maritime professionals and maritime leaders who will speak about reframing maritime safety through a woman’s lens, and how to implement a holistic approach to safety at sea, taking into account gender considerations. (See full programme)

IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Arsenio Dominguez said: “The goal is not just to honour women’s successes but also to advocate for equal opportunities and to unlock the full potential that a diverse workplace offers, to shine a spotlight and raise awareness on the challenges they face: discrimination, disparities, and limitations with regards to career opportunities.

“The maritime sector offers a multitude of prospects for women, spanning from seafaring to engineering, from law to logistics, and beyond… We must lead by example, serving as role models striving to create inclusive, empowering and safe work environments for women.”

Gender equality has been a longstanding focus for IMO. Only 29% of the overall maritime workforce and only 20% of the workforce of national maritime authorities are women. Women make up less than 2% of seafarers worldwide.

To highlight solutions, the event will feature the Diversity@Sea project by the All Aboard Alliance. The project involves 11 shipping companies each piloting a series of measures onboard one of the vessels in their fleet to promote inclusivity, including being crewed by at least four women.

To conclude the symposium, the first-ever IMO Gender Quality Award will be handed to Ms. Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou of Cyprus, former President of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International).
Ms Theodosiou was selected by the IMO Council in November 2023 for her work to advance gender equality and empowering women throughout her tenure as President of WISTA International.
The IMO Council also commended the following nominees:
• Mr. Mikael Skov (Denmark), CEO of Hafnia
• Ms. Sanjam Sahi Gupta (India), Founder of MaritimeSheEO and WISTA chapters in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Georgia and Malaysia (she will be present on the day)
• Commodore Amit Srivastava (India), Indian Navy (he will be present on the day)
• Ms. Eunjung Heo (Republic of Korea)
• Ms. Camille Dyan A. Simbulan (Philippines), Head of Communications and Special Projects for Women and Youth of the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP).

The annual IMO Gender Equality Award was created in 2023 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women in the maritime sector.