UK can lead world in maritime gender equality

British maritime can lead the world in gender equality, the country’s maritime minister claimed last night at the London launch party of a new charter for women in maritime.

Nusrat Ghani (pictured, right), who was appointed maritime minister in January, told invited guests at last night’s charter launch: “It is my ambition for maritime to be a shining beacon of gender equality, not only in this country but overseas too.”

The Women in Maritime charter, developed by industry body Maritime UK, creates a framework to challenge companies to make progress on diversity, and is supported by a suite of toolkits or resources to help companies realise those targets. Already close to 100 companies have signed up to the charter.

Companies joining the Women in Maritime charter will be required to agree an action plan, setting out individual targets. A key commitment will see companies identifying a member of senior management responsible for implementation of the action plan as well as distributing a survey to staff on workplace culture.

Performance against action plans will be self-assessed via an online portal and a national performance will be published in a joint industry-government report.

Sue Terpilowski, chair of the Women in Maritime taskforce, said: “We think we’ve struck the right balance between realism and challenge, with the appropriate plan in place to support companies to excel on gender diversity.”

David Dingle, chair of Maritime UK, commented: “Without a diverse workforce we will not be able to tackle the challenges we face – including innovating cutting-edge technology, such as that required to decarbonise shipping. A plurality of ideas and creative thinking is absolutely critical to the future success of UK maritime, one of Britain’s biggest industries.”

The Maritime HR Association, which collates and analyses shipping salary data and is dedicated to revealing the shipping pay gap, has found that 0.17% of the women studied are on executive leadership teams. The association also found that of the shore-based women in shipping, less than 20% progress to executive boardrooms.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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