Press Release: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International) proudly announced that their joint project, the Maritime Speakers Bureau, has won The Crew Welfare Diversity & Inclusion Award. It was presented during the virtual Crew Welfare Week conference on June 20 and recognized the Maritime Speakers’ Bureau’s ground-breaking work in the maritime sector. The accolade was gratefully accepted on behalf of the organizations by Mr Kitack Lim, the Secretary-General of the IMO and Ms Elpi Petraki, the President of WISTA International.
Launched in October 2022, Maritime Speakers’ Bureau is a pioneering initiative encouraging women in the maritime sector to inspire, educate and engage audiences by becoming registered speakers on the platform. Furthermore, the Bureau actively encourages conference organizers to pledge their commitment to diversity and inclusion, highlighting the significance of representative voices in industry events.
Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, said, “It is with great pleasure to accept the Crew Welfare Diversity and Inclusion Award, which acknowledges the Maritime Speakers Bureau’s commitment. I firmly believe in the importance of women’s representation in the maritime industry and their ability to share their experiences and expertise. The most effective way to achieve this is by ensuring diverse and inclusive panels at conferences and events. That is precisely why IMO, in collaboration with WISTA International, has launched the Speakers Bureau to promote female speakers. There are countless knowledgeable and experienced women in this field, and their contributions are invaluable in shaping a more diverse and inclusive maritime sector. Once again, I extend my gratitude for this Award, which recognizes our joint efforts in supporting women in the maritime.”
Despite the progress made in recent years, women still face significant challenges in the maritime sector. Underrepresentation in leadership roles, gender bias, limited networking and mentorship opportunities and lack of visibility are some obstacles hindering women’s career growth. The Maritime Speakers Bureau serves as a powerful platform to confront these challenges by providing role models, fostering networking opportunities and promoting women’s expertise across diverse maritime subjects.
Ms Elpi Petraki, President of WISTA International, stated, “I want to express my gratitude to everyone who voted for us. It is crucial to emphasize the significance of the initiative by IMO and WISTA in showcasing women who are experts in their respective fields and can share their expertise. We urge all conference organizers to utilize this platform when facing challenges finding female panellists. By doing so, they contribute significantly to enhancing the visibility of women in the maritime industry.”
“It is imperative that we establish an inclusive and supportive environment within the maritime industry. Through the Maritime Speakers Bureau, our goal is to foster diversity in leadership, combat gender bias and provide tailored mentorship and networking opportunities for women professionals. We firmly believe that by empowering women and showcasing their achievements, we can inspire positive change and reshape our industry’s future, ” concluded Ms Elpi Petraki.
The IMO-WISTA Maritime Speakers Bureau has outlined its key priorities for the next five years. Its primary objective is to create the most comprehensive directory of speakers worldwide, fostering a diverse and inclusive network of maritime experts and thought leaders.