Shipping & Sustainability room on Clubhouse talked about diversity in a recent discussion. There were as many men as women listening and talking.
Every March 8th is International Woman’s Day. It’s been that date since 1913, so 108 years, but picked up by the United Nations only in 1975 but only with an annual theme in 1996. The theme for 2021 is Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. The weekly Shipping and Sustainability show, found on Clubhouse, takes place every Monday and it was obvious to co-hosts Gina Panayiotou (host of It’s All About Shipping) and Craig Eason (host of the Aronnax Podcast and author of this post) that they must cover this topic on such a date.
Guests for the show on March 8th, 2021 on Clubhouse were Helen Buni who is principal programme assistant at the IMO and is part of the Organizations Women in Maritime Program, Sanjam Sahi Gupta, founder of Maritime SheEO and Angelica Kemene, founder of the startup accelerator Optima-X
The show notes consist of comments from the panel and those that took the microphone to add their comments and experiences during the briefing.
For men who support the drive for diversity it was warming to hear the discussion turn to how industry should recognise the support it gets from outside, namely from men who are outspoken and support one of the key sustainability goals. Diversity and gender inclusivity is not about getting the support of men, women should not be asking for permission in this issue, but by hailing the men who have recognised the role diversity plays in improving their businesses and social lives it sends a clear message to those men that do not. It is often not those that work against the tide that slow change, but those that are indifferent or do nothing.
We need to acknowledge the men that are our supporters, that actively recognise and talk about the benefits of diversity and equality in their lives that can show that this is not about losing a place at the table, or having more competition, but about the right way to improve a business and society.
We need women to be more confident about being seen, more vocal so they can then be seen as role models as a demonstration that diversity is achieving its goals. We need mentors to support women building their careers both at sea and ashore. But we also need mentors for both men and women as we need to ensure that men can share with men their experiences in supporting diversity and inclusivity.