Maritime UK to launch Initiatives to boost Gender Diversity

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(Image Courtesy: New Straits Times)

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 Harbour 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 organisation 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 women speakers. The initiative will provide a database of women speakers for panels and conferences. Through its work, the Taskforce heard that many conference organisers claimed that they were unable to identify women to speak on a relevant topic at events. The speaker bank will tag speakers with areas of expertise. The organisers of London International Shipping Week have committed to promoting the speaker bank to those organising events during the week.

Maritime UK will also be organising 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, a number of 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 organisers 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.”

Harry Theochari, Chair of Maritime UK said:

“I am delighted that the Taskforce is producing such tangible results. Diversity is incredibly important to our sector. Today we miss out on huge talent and diversity of thought, which are essential to the future success of our £40bn sector. The resources launched today will help in our mission to change our maritime sector for the better.”

Nicky Goldsbrough, Director of Corporate Services at Shoreham Port, who has led work on the interview pool, said:

“Collaboration has been key to the success of the Taskforce so far and the Interview Pool builds on this through broadening the networks of women in maritime, sharing skills and enabling gender balanced interview pools to be created, all of which is pivotal for attracting more women into the sector.”

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

Sea News, March 7