Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou to receive first-ever IMO Gender Equality Award


Ms. Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou (Cyprus), former President of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International), has been selected as the recipient of the first-ever IMO Gender Equality Award.

The IMO Council, at its 130th session (C 130, 21-24 November), endorsed the decision of the Assessment Panel, which decided to recommend Ms. Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou as the recipient of the first IMO Gender Equality Award, due to the pivotal and leading role she played in advancing gender equality and empowering women throughout her tenure as President of WISTA International. Ms. Panayiotou Theodosiou was nominated by Cyprus.

Ms. Panayiotou Theodosiou’s actions brought significant attention to the Association’s mission and shed light on the challenges faced by women in the maritime industry, raising awareness among industry stakeholders, as well as international policy and decision makers, while also amplifying the voices of women and highlighting their important contributions to the maritime industry.

Ms. Panayiotou Theodosiou was instrumental in gaining consultative status for WISTA International at IMO. The signing of a memorandum of understanding between both Organizations translated into multiple successful initiatives, such as the Women in Maritime Survey 2021, aimed at examining the representation and distributions of women working in the maritime sector; and the Maritime Speakers Bureau, a platform of female experts in a variety of maritime fields which seeks to amplify the voices of women in the maritime industry by ensuring that conferences and events feature inclusive panels with a range of perspectives.