Shipping Needs Women
To mark International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017, maritime professionals’ union, Nautilus International, is calling on the shipping industry to be more inclusive after research revealed women only make up 2% of the global maritime workforce.
Despite the ground the industry has made bridging the gap in gender parity, Nautilus International is encouraging employers to wake up to the need for change.
As the leading maritime trade union in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland, Nautilus is working on many different fronts to help the industry recruit and retain female seafarers through its campaigning and training programmes.
On the need for change, Nautilus’s General Secretary, Mark Dickinson commented: “We believe creating a workforce with a higher proportion of women has benefits for all employees.
“There tends to be a more professional and less ‘macho’ working environment when more women are present, and the overall quality of the workforce is raised because there is a larger talent pool for employers to draw on.”
The union has recently highlighted the unacceptable levels of workplace bullying and harassment in shipping, and has worked with other industry bodies to produce anti-bullying guidelines and training materials for the shipping industry.
Whilst some people would associate a career in the maritime sector with an old fashioned notion of shipmates and captains, in reality, seafarers encompass all walks of life, with career routes in the sector encompassing offshore and onshore support roles in everything from engineer roles on vessels to hospitality roles on cruise ships.
Dickinson continues: “We also recognise that women at sea can be short of role models and peer support – often finding themselves to be the only female crew member on their ship – and we have established the Nautilus International Women’s Forum to assist with this”.
A further major issue is that the industry currently loses many highly-skilled employees through its failure to adopt family-friendly working practices or even to implement basic maternity and paternity leave provisions.
The union has produced guidance on this and is working with individual employers to come up with thoughtful and creative solutions appropriate to the shipboard working environment.
Nautilus International is calling on the industry to show support for the International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange theme.
In addition to this show of support, the union is committed in working to ensure their women members enjoy the same opportunities at work as their male colleagues.