IMO marks first International Day for Women in Maritime

Written by Nick Blenkey
Women in Maritime logo

“There is still a gender imbalance in maritime – but times are changing. It is recognized that diversity in maritime benefits the entire sector,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim as the International Maritime Organization today celebrated the first International Day for Women in Maritime.

“Women in maritime are working everywhere to support the transition to a decarbonized, digitalized and more sustainable future,” said Lim. “Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate the many women who are contributing to the future of maritime: maintaining an engine on a ship, running a company, drawing up a contract, surveying a vessel, or chairing an IMO committee meeting.”

The theme for this first International Day for Women in Maritime is “Training-Visibility-Recognition: Supporting a barrier-free working environment.”

Cover of Women in <Maritime survey

IMO is marking the occasion with a campaign that includes the release of the inaugural IMO-WISTA International (Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association Limited) survey results. The report contains information about the proportion and distribution of women working in the maritime sector, based on information provided by IMO Member States and the maritime industry. The survey uses data from IMO Member States and the maritime industry to benchmark the current gender balance of the maritime workforce and indicate areas of success and those where more progress is needed. (Download the survey results).


On social media, IMO is inviting women in maritime to share images of themselves in their working environments using the hashtag #WomenInMaritimeDay. IMO also invites allies to share images of themselves with the woman/women in maritime who make their working lives better.


IMO is working to address the current gender imbalance in maritime and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality. IMO has a longstanding Women in Maritime programme. In 2019, the World Maritime theme was “Empowering women in the maritime community”, with numerous activities promoting gender equality in maritime. At the end of 2019, IMO member states at the IMO Assembly adopted a resolution pledging to ensure the legacy of 2019 would continue.

In 2021, the IMO Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming an International Day for Women in Maritime on May 18 each year. The day celebrates women in the industry and is intended to promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector and raise the profile of women in maritime.

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