It’s time to speak up

Today’s email download included information about a new initiative launched by WISTA International and the International Maritime Organisation that I believe will help diversify the voices that get heard in the maritime industry.

The two organisations 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’. I do hope that the vibrant women from Africa’s maritime domain add their voices to this platform.

The Maritime Speakers Bureau is a great initiative and I will definitely be signing up to use the opportunity to register as a speaker as well as to identify potential speakers for future events.

The aim is to promote increase the number of women speakers on the international conference stage. According to a statement issued by WISTA International, “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 organisers.”

The platform also includes a pledge for signatories to help highlight where diversity gaps occur as well as to commit to improving the inclusion at future maritime events.

“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,” notes Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, President of WISTA International.

Secretary-General of the IMO, Kitack, Lim believes that the 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.

Visit the website now and sign up!


Five things you can do to promote the maritime industry

I like lists. And I especially like lists that are quick and easy to accomplish. So here are five things that you, as a maritime professional, can quickly and easily do to promote awareness of our industry amongst the general population.

  1. Post a maritime-related photo or status update on your Facebook wall that would be of interest to your friends and that paints the industry in a positive light.
  2. Invite your friends or family ship-spotting. In most port towns there is generally a vantage point that also makes a good picnic spot from where you can see ships. (Take a pair of binoculars to make it more exciting.)
  3. Speak to the career counselor at your nearest High School about the opportunities in the maritime sector for their learners. (I believe the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is producing a book on maritime careers – so perhaps this will be available for distribution soon.)
  4. Get involved in the International Day of the Seafarer campaign run annually by the International Maritime Organisation on 25th June 2013. (Click here for more information)
  5. Encourage your business to share their good news with the media.


6. Share this post with other members of the maritime industry and let’s get the message out there!