Women Navigate a Safer Course: International Day for Women in Maritime 2024

International Day for Women in Maritime 2024

18th May 2024

Report : Celebrating Women in Maritime Safety: 2024

Today, on the 18th of May 2024, the world celebrates the International Day for Women in Maritime. Established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2021, this day recognizes the crucial role women play in ensuring safe and secure seas. This year’s theme, “Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety,” highlights the contributions women can make to a more diverse and inclusive maritime industry, ultimately leading to a safer future for all.

Despite the growing recognition of their importance, women remain significantly underrepresented in the maritime sector. According to the IMO, only 29% of the overall maritime workforce and a mere 20% of national maritime authorities are women. At sea, the disparity is even starker, with women making up less than 2% of seafarers worldwide.

This year’s International Day for Women in Maritime aims to bridge this gap. The IMO is leading the charge with a dedicated symposium held on May 17th, titled “Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety.” The symposium featured distinguished seafarers, maritime professionals, and leaders who discussed how to create a more inclusive environment and leverage the unique perspectives women bring to the table.

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One of the key takeaways from the symposium is the importance of reframing maritime safety through a gendered lens. Women often bring a more collaborative and communication-oriented approach to problem-solving, which can be invaluable in preventing accidents at sea. Additionally, fostering a diverse workforce allows for a wider range of experiences and viewpoints to be considered, leading to more robust safety protocols.

The symposium also highlighted the need to address the specific challenges faced by women in the maritime industry. These include a lack of access to training and education opportunities, inadequate childcare facilities onboard ships, and a workplace culture that can sometimes be unwelcoming.

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Several initiatives are underway to address these issues. The IMO’s Women in Maritime program works to promote the recruitment, retention, and empowerment of women in the sector. Additionally, organizations like the Women in Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) provide support networks and mentorship opportunities for women in maritime careers.

As the industry moves forward, there is a growing recognition that creating a more gender-balanced workforce is not just a social justice issue, but also a safety imperative. Studies have shown that companies with a diverse workforce tend to outperform their less diverse counterparts. In the maritime sector, where safety is paramount, a more inclusive environment can lead to better decision-making and ultimately fewer accidents.


The 2024 International Day for Women in Maritime marks a significant step forward in recognizing the vital role women play in ensuring a safe and secure maritime future. By promoting gender equality and fostering a more inclusive environment, the industry can harness the full potential of its workforce and create a safer horizon for all those who navigate the world’s oceans.

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