• Follow Us On Our Preferred Social Media Platform:

WISTA: ‘Education and awareness’ key towards narrowing gender gap in bunkering, shipping and trading sectors

14 Mar 2023

Minimising the existing gender gap in the bunkering, maritime, trading and logistics sectors can be made possible through education and awareness, believes the President of Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA).

“There is already a challenge of attracting talent into the maritime industry and we need to educate young people in schools on shipping industries,” Elpi Petraki told bunkering publication Manifold Times during an interview in London.

“Parents want their kids to be working in high paying jobs and the shipping industry also offers this possibility.

“You can be a maritime lawyer or a doctor or engineer supporting crew on board ships out at sea; these are also well-paying jobs which can be very interesting with the added benefit of travel around the world.

“The younger generation don’t see the gender gap we currently see so we must build on this to give opportunities for everybody.

“We have to talk outside the industry by heading to a wider audience including the mothers and fathers through raising awareness.”

A survey ‘Women in Maritime Survey 2021’ conducted between WISTA and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) highlighted the share of women on company boards within shipping’s subsectors – including the bunkering sector.

“We know there are several women especially in later times in their careers employed within the bunkering sector where they form part of the management,” Petraki pointed out.

“However, we would like to see more ladies operating with the marine refuelling sector especially on [bunker] barges where it is currently almost non-existent,” she stated.

Petraki, who is also the Second Vice President of the Hellenic Short Sea Shipowners Association and Operations, Chartering & Business Development Manager of her family shipowner business ENEA Management, stressed working on bunker barges should firstly be safe for everybody.

“If it is dangerous for everybody why should it be a different danger for women or for men?,” she questioned.

“In fact, the introduction of technology on bunker barges/tankers means less manual labour is now required from its crew thereby benefitting ladies.

“Further, bunker barges operate in very local areas so these vessels call at port very often which means it will be a good fit for women with families.

“This is also the reason why coastal shipping, where vessels ply between regular routes, is also more attractive to ladies especially in Europe.

“The more women we have involved in shipping the more equal and diverse it can be.”

The ‘Women in Maritime Survey 2021’ launched on the first IMO International Day for Women in Maritime (18 May, 2021), was the first time real figures of gender diversity were collected for the shipping industry, noted Petraki.

“Before that, there were no real numbers for women working in the maritime sector,” she revealed.

“Data demonstrated women accounting for only 29% of the overall workforce in the general industry and 20% of the workforce of national maritime authorities in IMO Member States.

“It showed women being involved in many sectors of the shipping industry; especially working within ship owning companies and the legal sectors while contributing to the environmental sensitive side (i.e. ESG) of the maritime business.”

“At WISTA, we aim to empower women to have better possibilities for growing their career through progressing into senior positions of every field of shipping and logistics,” shared Petraki.

“We want to do that by changing behaviours and educating people through continuous learning and acquisition of leadership skills.

“We have presence in 56 countries around the world with a growing membership of 4,000 people comprising not only women but also men as well.

“Shipping is widely known to be a very male dominated industry. To level the field and bring much-needed diversity to the sector, we want to attract women and support them to cover more managerial and board level positions.”

Note: The full 20-page Women in Maritime Survey 2021 is available for download through the WISTA website here.


Photo credit: WISTA, Women in Maritime Survey 2021
Published: 14 March, 2023

Related News

Featured News

Our Industry Partners

PR Newswire