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Nearly one third of port professionals active in ESPO are women

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Eamonn O’Reilly

Nearly one third of port professionals active in ESPO are women

08 March 2019

Over the past year, ESPO has been monitoring the gender balance through the effective attendance of port professionals to the different meetings of the organisation. The outcome of this monitoring reveals that, all technical committees together, overall 31,76% of port professionals attending the meetings were women, 68,24% men.

Looking in more detail into the different committees, the results of this monitoring reveals that the Port Governance committee, the Trade Facilitation, Customs and Security committee, the Sustainable Development committee and the Cruise and Ferry port network are scoring very well with almost an equal representation of men and women at the meetings. The Economic Analysis and Statistics committee counts nearly a quarter of women. 13% of the members participating in the Intermodal, Logistics and Industry committee last year were women, 87% men. The Marine Affairs committee, dealing with port safety issues and gathering mostly the harbour masters of the ports, seems to remain a men-only club. The Executive Committee meetings, the board and daily policy-making body of the organisation, has been gathering an average of one third of women for two thirds of men at its meetings.

“It is essential for any industry to attract the best people possible. The port industry is a very traditional industry and there is often less diversity in the workforce than is needed to ensure this objective is achieved. We see this reflected in the proportion of women who represent the industry in ESPO’s committees with women accounting for nearly one third of attendees. We will continue to monitor and report on gender balance in the work of our committees and encourage all of our members, the ports of Europe, to work to achieve greater diversity. In any case, our office in Brussels, counting more women than men, sets the good example”, says ESPO’s Chairman Eamonn O’Reilly.

Isabelle Ryckbost

All ESPO technical committees together, overall 31,76% of port professionals attending the meetings were women. 

“Last year, our Chairman had the idea to count the men and women attending each of our meetings. I believe the results are quite interesting. Our meetings gather different profiles of port professionals, depending on the committee. CEOs, heads of corporate affairs, environmental managers, lawyers and public affairs people, harbour masters, and statisticians to name a few. The results by committee mirrors in a way the gender balance for each of these profiles in the port,” adds ESPO’s Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost.

End 2017, the Commission and the Economic and Social Committee launched a new platform, Women in Transport – EU Platform for change, aiming to strengthen Women’s employment and equal opportunities for men and women in the transport sector. It was revealed that only 22% of the people working in the transport sector are women. In waterborne transport, it is only 20%. ESPO is one of the participating organisations in the platform and thus member of the platform.

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