Opportunity and action. On paper they are just words, but when you hear them in a story, you can't help but see them brought to life. That's exactly what Eleanor Martin shared with us during LISW.
12 years ago, Eleanor had the opportunity to participate in a programme intended to enable and inspire women to become partners. In the 12 years since she took part, 10 of those years have been spent as partner. Action had brought this to life for her.
In the maritime sector in particular, where companies operate globally and must navigate different cultures and languages, diversity, equity and inclusion are crucial. How do we, as women in the maritime industry, action opportunities today? What action can organisations take to create an industry that is truly diverse, equitable and inclusive for all? Here are some key highlights from our panel discussion:
Don't be scared
Senior leaders can often be apprehensive of saying the wrong thing when approaching topics of DEI, but without senior leaders embracing these topics, the rest of the organisation is not going to. Leaders have to lead by example, even if it seems daunting.
The action: Find a safe space and talk to those in your organisation; be curious and engage in conversation. If you make a mistake in your language, just apologise and keep trying.
An embracing culture
Data, research and policies can create a framework for identifying improvements. However in order for such policies to drive real change we need to foster a culture which actively embraces diversity.
The action: Be mindful of the language included in policies and how this can unintentionally exclude individuals. Action such policies at each opportunity.
There's still a long way to go
From a woman fired from a role after becoming pregnant to senior female figures being referred to as 'girls', each panelist can give examples of the why the need for progress is still so important.
The action: Share the negative experiences, so that we can share our sadness and disapproval of them, and amplify the positive role models, so that we know what is achievable.
Leadership needs no gender
There has been extensive research suggesting that women outperform men in many top leadership criteria, as well as research suggesting that engaging more women at senior and decision-making levels can help drive corporate performance. With that acknowledged, we all agreed that the two strongest attributes for modern leadership are courage and authenticity.
The action: Organisations must create safe spaces for all talented individuals to grow and lead. Individuals must step into their leadership journey with courage and authenticity.
DEI is a tool to cognitive diversity and cognitive diversity in the maritime industry today is key for creating new opportunities and making good business decisions. There is still visible progress which needs to be made. Every action towards inclusion and equity, no matter how small, is a step towards making diversity a reality.