Maritime sector committed to empowering women

7 October 2019

The maritime industry in NZ is committed to working to empower women in the industry.

The Maritime NZ Board hosted an event in Tauranga to commemorate this year’s World Maritime Day “Empowering women in the maritime community.”

The event included a panel of high profile women in the NZ maritime industry who led a discussion on why empowering women in maritime matters and how industry and Maritime NZ can work together to attract more women into maritime careers both here and across the Pacific.

Panel members included Jo Brosnahan, Maritime NZ Chair, Sara Lunam, Corporate Services Manager for Port of Tauranga, Lucy Hogan, NZ Merchant Service Guild, Louise Struthers, Chief Executive Strait NZ, Margaret Wind, Executive Director Marine Transport Association, and Louise Deehan-Owen, Academic Lead NZ Maritime School.

The aim of the panel was to kick start a programme of work within the industry to attract more women to careers in maritime.

Maritime NZ Chair Jo Brosnahan said, “I was impressed and inspired by the strong and clear leadership, and by the openness and authenticity demonstrated by the women who joined us to talk about their thoughts on empowering women in the maritime community. It is clear that this work is important, necessary, and needs the commitment of everyone in the maritime community – not just the women.”

Executive Director of the Marine Transport Association Margaret Wind said “Empowering women starts from when they’re girls. It’s up to those of us who have been in the industry a long time to make sure that the girls and young women who are joining know that we’re there to support them and be their champions.”

The event was well attended with representatives from all areas of the industry sharing their views and ideas on why empowering women in maritime matters and how we can expand the involvement of women in our maritime sector.

The feedback included a number of questions to consider, including how to identify and address the barriers to women entering the maritime sector – barriers that can be practical, cultural, and related to making maritime careers visible and creating viable options for young women. There was strong support for acknowledging the benefits that a more diverse workforce would bring to the maritime sector, and commitment to making positive and sustained progress to inclusion and support for women in this vital industry.

Sara Lunam from Port of Tauranga pointed out “Empowering women makes good business sense. Having women on site is proven to lift productivity overall and improve work group dynamics.”

Lucy Hogan from NZ Merchant Service Guild shared some of her own experiences and said “Harassment is real, for men as well as women. We need to tell the stories so we can do something about it rather than keep avoiding the hard stuff.”

Louise Deehan-Owen who is a senior lecturer and Academic Lead at the NZ Maritime School added “We are seeing more women come through the Maritime School. The next generation expect equal treatment for all. We need to ensure that the students entering the Maritime sector have the tools to deal with confronting situations and understand their role in supporting each other.”

Maritime NZ will be now be working with the maritime sector to put the ideas that came up at the World Maritime Day event into action.

Editor‘s notes:

About World Maritime Day.

The United Nations, via the International Maritime Organization, created World Maritime Day to celebrate the international maritime industry’s contribution towards the world’s economy, especially in shipping.

The theme changes each year. 2019’s theme ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’ provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and to highlight the important – yet under-utilised- contribution of women within the maritime sector. Around 1 percent of seafarers globally are women. Of those, over 95 percent work on cruise ships. Less than 5 percent of women in roles on vessels are deckhands, masters, engineers, or in other technical roles.

Empowering women fuels thriving economies across the world, spurs growth and development, and benefits everyone working in the global maritime community in the drive towards safe, secure, clean and sustainable shipping.

WMD 2019 logo

Photos of the event

More photos of the event are available. Please email media@maritimenz.govt.nz should you wish to obtain high-res copies.

MNZ Authority Chair Jo Brosnahan leading the panel discussion with prominent women from the NZ maritime industry
Photo credit: Maritime NZ
MNZ Authority Chair Jo Brosnahan leading the panel discussion with prominent women from the NZ maritime industry.
Members of the panel: Sarah Lunam (Corporate Services Manager, Port of Tauranga), Lucy Hogan (NZ Merchant Service Guild), Louise Struthers (CE, Strait NZ), Margaret Wind (Executive Director, MTA), Louise Deehan-Owen (Academic Lead, NZ Maritime School), with MNZ Board Chair Jo Brosnahan
Photo credit: Maritime NZ
Members of the panel: Sarah Lunam (Corporate Services Manager, Port of Tauranga), Lucy Hogan (NZ Merchant Service Guild), Louise Struthers (CE, Strait NZ), Margaret Wind (Executive Director, MTA), Louise Deehan-Owen (Academic Lead, NZ Maritime School), with MNZ Board Chair Jo Brosnahan.
MNZ Director, Keith Manch and Board Chair, Jo Brosnahan with some of MNZ's 'Women in Maritime'. From left, CE Keith Manch, Eva Maxwell (Business Operations Coordinator, MPRS), Samantha Mildon (SARO, RCCNZ), Lisa Russell (Maritime Officer), Ginni Murray (Maritime Officer), Chair Jo Brosnahan
Photo credit: Maritime NZ
MNZ Director, Keith Manch and Board Chair, Jo Brosnahan with some of MNZ's 'Women in Maritime'. From left, CE Keith Manch, Eva Maxwell (Business Operations Coordinator, MPRS), Samantha Mildon (SARO, RCCNZ), Lisa Russell (Maritime Officer), Ginni Murray (Maritime Officer), Chair Jo Brosnahan.
Eva Maxwell, Business Operations Coordinator, MPRS with her World Maritime Day poster
Photo credit: Maritime NZ
Eva Maxwell, Business Operations Coordinator, MPRS with her World Maritime Day poster.

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