Diversity and maritime security were in focus at the inaugural event for the Women in Maritime of West and Central Africa (WIMOWCA). Women in maritime took centre stage at the inauguration of the Women in Maritime of West and Central Africa (WIMOWCA), the newest IMO-supported regional association for women in the maritime sector (WIMA).
“The objective of WIMOWCA is to harness the potential and contribution of women in West and Central Africa to ensure the sustainable development of the maritime industry in Africa,” said WIMOWCA Interim President, Sylvia Asana Dauda Owu.
“Women, as you are all aware, form over 51% of the world population and the same is true for Africa, as such they cannot be left out in any global effort to confront the challenges we face today in the global maritime industry. Sustainable maritime development would require inclusive participation of all, men and women, if we are to succeed in our endeavor in that regard,” she said.
The hybrid event was held (23 July) at MT Addico Conference Hall in Accra, Ghana and livestreamed to a global audience.
“For sustainability and success in the modern world, shipping needs diversity in the workforce and we need women to drive the decision-making processes,” IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said in his keynote speech. “We are on the right path and progress has been made. However much still needs to be done to help the maritime industry progress toward gender equality. WIMOWCA is a welcome addition to the global network of WIMAs. This special event provides a unique opportunity to discuss and celebrate two topics: women in the maritime community, and Africa as a maritime continent.”
Seven other WIMAs have already been established across Africa, Arab States, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific, supported by IMO’s long-running Women in Maritime gender programme. Between them, the WIMAs count more than 700 participants from across 152 countries. Individuals joining the newest WIMA, which will focus on Anglophone West and Central Africa, will have access to similar collaborative and networking opportunities and access to IMO‑sponsored training through the WIMAs. Network of Professional Women in the Maritime and Port Sectors for West and Central Africa (NPWMP-WCA), which was launched in February 2007 in Benin focuses on Francophone West and Central Africa. Click here for the total list of WIMAs on the IMO’s Women in Maritime page.
Ghana’s Minister of Transport, the Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, emphasized in his speech the role that women would play in the “African perspective of the Blue Economy”. “The blue economy has quite rightly been described as the ‘New Frontier of the African Renaissance’. Our continent is indeed a big island, with 38 coastal countries. Over 90% of Africa’s International trade, imports and exports are conducted by sea. The potential runs into many trillions of dollars and promises to combine enormous economic growth for our respective countries. Inclusive development is one of the surest ways and sustainable means to harness the full potential of Africa’s blue economy. Women must be at the heart of this agenda,” he said.
The inaugural WOMOWCA event also featured a panel discussion on “The impact of maritime insecurity on shipping in the Gulf of Guinea, challenges and the way forward”, which provided a regional perspective on the situation.
Additional presentations from development partners touched upon the work of the U S Naval Forces Europe and Africa Women’s, Peace, and Security Working Group in West and Central Africa, the IMOGEN IMO Member States delegates’ gender initiative and the importance of galvanizing women in the maritime industry. For the full programme, visit the event page here.
IMO’s Women in Maritime programme has been running for more than 30 years, supporting women in both shore-based and sea-going roles. (Read more here: https://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/TechnicalCooperation/Pages/WomenInMaritime.aspx
Women in Maritime – IMO and WISTA International Survey 2021
IMO and WISTA International have launched the Women in Maritime – IMO and WISTA International Survey 2021 to examine the proportion and distribution of women working in the maritime sector, from support roles to executive level positions. Member States and companies/NGOS are invited to fill in the survey to provide essential baseline data.