Press Release: Women in maritime are encouraged to inspire, educate and engage audiences by registering as speakers on the new Maritime Speakers Bureau platform, launched by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International).
IMO and WISTA International are passionate about ensuring that sector conferences and events have a diversity of thought and inclusive panels are the top way to achieve this. The two organizations have created a new platform, a speaker bank for the women in maritime, intending to end the tradition of all-male speaking panels, sometimes referred to as ‘manels’.
The IMO and WISTA International aim to promote women’s voices in the shipping industry and increase the number of women speakers. This will show more diverse role models and eliminate the excuse that “I cannot find a female speaker”; and simplify the process of finding speakers. It is free to register and use by speakers and organizers.
The Maritime Speakers Bureau website is seeking positive commitment by asking people to sign one or more of its pledges: for speakers; organizers; and sponsors. By signing, they are committing to highlighting where there is a lack of diversity at events and doing what they can to improve things to ensure that maritime events have diversity and inclusion.
Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, President of WISTA International, said:
Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, President of WISTA International, states: “WISTA is an international organisation whose mission is to attract and support women, at the management level, in the maritime, trading and logistics sectors. It is our conviction that diversity is one of the key elements for a sustainable future for our industries. Creating this platform in collaboration with the IMO is a fantastic opportunity to help the wider maritime sector attract more diverse talent in an international industry. Women in our industry will be able to show their interest in participating in panels, becoming more visible and inspiring others. At the same time, event organisers will have the tools to make their panels more inclusive, diverse and interesting.”
Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of The International Maritime Organization (IMO) said:
“For speakers, this is your opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences in your field of expertise and contribute to helping the audience benefit from diverse thoughts.
This important initiative will support inclusive, diverse, richer panels from this free-to-use directory of industry speakers so that audiences can benefit from a range of perspectives that come from having diverse and inclusive viewpoints.”
The launch of the Maritime Speakers Bureau is another joint project under the IMO-WISTA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on promoting greater diversity and inclusion through enhanced cooperation activities in the maritime sector. The MoU, singed in 2020, aims to set a framework for both IMO and WISTA to promote gender diversity and inclusion as vital factors in providing a sustainable future for the shipping industry worldwide.
Earlier this year, IMO and WISTA provided the results of the first, 2021, IMO-WISTA Women in Maritime survey. (Read more here: https://www.imo.org/en/
How the Maritime speakers Bureau works
Speakers, once registered, can be contacted by the conference and event organizers with their requests via the Speakers Bureau website email system. Speakers are free to accept or decline the invitation to speak. If they decline, they can recommend someone else if they can instead. Conference organizers can search the directory by sectors, subjects and countries.