18 May 2023 marks the IMO International Day for Women in Maritime, highlighting the importance of collaboration and networking in achieving gender equality in the maritime sector. Our Women in Maritime network took this day as an opportunity to celebrate those in the industry, showcasing the need to encourage others into the industry.
Women at sea | what you don't see
I spoke with documentary photographer, Nina Varumo about her ongoing photo series Kvinnor till sjöss (‘Women at sea’) highlighting the working life of female seafarers in order to change the stereotypical image of what and who is a seafarer. Hearing her talk about the inspiration behind the project, how it was brought to life, as well as the hurdles Nina had to overcome, was really inspiring and beautiful.
Nina has given us exclusive first-sight access to some of the photos from this series, which is soon to be exhibited. I've given a sneak preview of two of my favourite images below, the first I think it really evokes a real sense of control and calm, with a the captain commanding a powerful presence.
Photographers note: Marie controls the ferry between the mainland and the islands – a vital commuter route.
This photo below, Nina noted that it may well have never come around if she hadn't have been navigating through COVID restrictions onboard. Only able to have external access on this vessel, Nina still really wanted to capture women in their cabins - so with a little creativity, this photograph was born.
Mobilising networks for gender equality
This year's theme for International Day of Women in Maritime focused on the importance of networking. Taking that to heart and to play our part, our Women in Maritime network alongside the Women in Export and Infrastructure Finance group hosted a session to discuss the importance of networking. We heard from a brilliant range of speakers, including:
- Minister Ghani - Minister of State at the Department for Business and Trade and as the Minister of State responsible for the Investment Security Unit
- Sarah Kenny OBE - CEO at BMT and former Chair of Maritime UK
- Emma Moore - Chief Operating Officer at City of London Corporation, formerly Chief Operating Officer of UK Border Force
- Anne de Forsanz - Director, Banking and Investments at UK Infrastructure Bank
- Davinder Mann - General Counsel at UK Infrastructure Bank
- Christine Ezcutari - President of the High Council of the Merchant Navy and Global Co-Head of Transport at Norton Rose Fulbright
They covered a broad range of topics, including their views and experience of gender diversity within the maritime and infrastructure industries, as well as their hopes for the future. Some key takeaways for me were:
- Supporting those around you - especially those rising up the ranks. What can we do to eliminate hurdles that they may face?
- Let's modernise and change the imagery, to show that there are opportunities for all. Nina's work in this area is a great step forward in this space.
- Keep in touch - these networks are powerful and make an impact to help drive change.
It doesn't stop there though. It's important to keep this momentum up throughout the year, rather than just speaking about these issues for just one day - so why not register for our upcoming webinar focusing on presenting with impact, hosted in conjunction with WISTA International, supporting its recent launch of the Maritime Speakers Bureau platform.