Statement by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim on International Women’s Day


“On 8 March every year, UN Women and the entire United Nations system celebrate International Women’s Day.

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.

This has great relevance for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) family.

Shipping is going through a transformation, tackling climate change through decarbonisation and undergoing digitalisation and automation at a rapid rate.

This transformation needs the best talent – and that means embracing diversity and ensuring that any barriers to participation are broken down.

In maritime and across all sectors, working environments must be enabling, supportive and inclusive of diverse participation by all, without hindrance.

IMO is strongly committed to helping its Member States achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’.

The IMO continues to make significant contribution to the participation of women in the Maritime industry through our effective and impactful Women in Maritime Programme.

The long-standing commitment received a boost with the adoption of the International Day for Women in Maritime( IDWIM) in 2021 (celebrated on 18thMay each year) followed by the establishment of a Gender Equality Award by the IMO Council to provide international recognition to those individuals, irrespective of their gender, who either in their personal capacity or as representatives of their respective institutions have made significant contributions towards the advancement of gender equality and empowerment of women in the maritime sector.

At IMO Headquarters, we are marking International Women’s Day with a visit from a guest speaker.

IMO staff and delegates will hear from Mary Ann Sieghart, author of the best-selling book, The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and What We Can Do About it. She will be speaking on “International Women’s Day: Narrowing the Gender Equality Gap in One Generation – Global Challenge and Global Responsibility”.

On 18 May, we will have another opportunity to highlight the role of women, specifically, women in maritime on the International Day for Women in Maritime (IDWIM). In 2023, IMO will host a conference, on the theme of ‘Mobilising networks for gender equality’. The conference will cover a wide range of topics and will bring together representatives from the eight Women in Maritime Associations which IMO has helped establish across the globe.

Throughout the year, every day, we must continue the fight for gender equality.”