24 May 2013 – An international conference on empowering women maritime workers brought together over 100 academics, union representatives, merchant navy and naval officers and representatives of international maritime organisations in Barcelona on 23 May.
The International Conference Proudly Empowering Women in Maritime was organised by the Department of Nautical Science and Engineering of the Technical University of Catalonia, with the collaboration of the Faculty of Nautical Studies of Barcelona. It was supported by many organisations, including the ITF and the IMO, which is stepping up worldwide efforts to promote change for women in shipping.
Speakers included an international perspective from Luz Baz, the first woman to be an ITF inspector in Spain. She spoke about the impact of the flags of convenience system on women
seafarers, using research data and exploring common problems, and discussed ITF and affiliate proposals for action. She also mentioned the new ITF publication, ‘Maritime Women’s Best Practices’.
Maria Carolina Romero Lares from the World Maritime University gave an overview of the United Nations development goal on gender equality and empowerment of women in the maritime sector, while Karine Langlois from the International Maritime Organization presented a film, ‘Women at the Helm’. The film highlighted first-hand experiences of some success stories for women in maritime.
Delegates discussed a range of topics affecting women working in the maritime sector, including cruise tourism, integrating into shipboard life, working in the Spanish and Argentinian merchant marine industry and the use of social networking.
Baz commented: “There was great energy at the conference, with delegates sharing their experiences, contributing their ideas and developing solutions to common problems.”
Alison McGarry, coordinator of the ITF’s women transport workers’ department, commented: “The conference brought together a wide range of women maritime workers around some pressing issues of common concern. We hope it will lead to women getting a better deal and playing a bigger role in shaping the industry’s future.”