WISTA International AGM ratifies new definition of Diversity and Equity

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WISTA International held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Montevideo, Uruguay, last week. The Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association reported soaring membership worldwide, chose future locations for the next two AGMs and ratified its fresh definition of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), reinforcing its commitment to inclusivity in the maritime sector.

In her annual report, WISTA International President Elpi Petraki mentioned that three new National WISTA Associations (NWAs) were established over the past 12 months in Estonia, Jamaica, and Paraguay. She also revealed a significant increase in WISTA membership, now totalling 4,356 members across 56 NWAs.

The President also updated on several WISTA initiatives in partnership with the IMO, including the Maritime Speakers Bureau launched in Geneva last year, encouraging more women to participate in industry events. Other projects in collaboration with the IMO were also highlighted.

Furthermore, she discussed the ‘Platform for Change – Women in Transport’ project in association with the European Union. Two collaborative projects with the International Chamber of Shipping were also mentioned. An overview was also presented of other partnerships with global organisations, such as the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), and UNCTAD – where WISTA achieved observer status in July 2023.

A statement issued on DEI said: “Diversity, to us, signifies the acknowledgement, respect, and valuation of individual differences,” the statement read. The organisation believes that championing diversity not only acknowledges the myriad backgrounds and experiences of its members but also serves as a catalyst for innovation, problem-solving, and sound decision-making.”

It was also highlighted that Equity remains at the core of the WISTA ethos. “Our concerted effort is towards ensuring fair treatment, access, and opportunities for everyone, irrespective of their unique identities. We are unyielding in our resolve to pinpoint and abolish any barriers that might have previously impeded full participation,” the WISTA International President articulated.

Six NWAs applied to hold the WISTA International AGM and Conference next year and the year after. Following a vote, Cyprus was selected as the 2024 host and Barcelona for 2025.

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