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24 thousand female seafarers worldwide inadequate

In a powerful address at the Symposium on “The Relevance of Women in Maritime Education and Training: Prospects and Challenges,” guest speaker Ms. Getrude Ohene-Asienim, Executive Director of the School of Shipping and Trading Association, lamented the stark gender imbalance in the maritime industry.

Ms. Ohene-Asienim emphatically pointed out that the current 24,000 female seafarers worldwide are a mere fraction of the 1.89 million seafarers globally, and she urged organizations and individuals to step up efforts to support and encourage more women to enter this traditionally male-dominated field.

The symposium, held at the Regional Maritime University in Accra, Ghana, served as a platform for addressing the under-representation of women in maritime professions and exploring ways to rectify this disparity. The event was part of activities marking the university’s celebration of its 65th and 40th anniversaries, commemorating its rich history in training seafarers.

She stressed the urgency of change and called upon the maritime community to take action. “The fact that only 24,000 out of nearly 1.9 million seafarers are women is a situation that calls for change,” she emphasized. “We must make concerted efforts to assist and empower girls to venture into this male-dominated field. It is crucial for organizations and individuals to support and mentor women already in the sector and help them succeed in their chosen careers.”

Highlighting the importance of mentorship, Ms. Ohene-Asienim stated, “Mentorship is key. When you achieve success, it’s essential to extend a helping hand to guide others towards their goals.”

The Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University, Dr. Jethro W. Brooks Jnr.  in his opening remarks, also acknowledged the gender disparity in the maritime industry and the need for change. He noted that the university had initiated a scholarship fund drive aimed at increasing female representation in the sector. “We are proud to have admitted more female students, and we encourage more young women to pursue careers in the maritime industry to rectify the gender imbalance,” he declared.

The symposium’s discussions and exchanges aimed to shed light on the vital role women play in maritime education and training and the importance of diversity and inclusion in the industry. The research presented during the event highlighted the significance of safeguarding the human rights of women seafarers as a fundamental step toward achieving gender equality.

The symposium also underscored the need for immediate action to address the gender disparity in the maritime industry and promote opportunities for women in this traditionally male-dominated field. The Regional Maritime University expressed gratitude to all those who contributed to organizing the event and reiterated its commitment to fostering gender diversity within the maritime sector.

The call to action from Getrude Ohene Asienim and the discussions at the symposium serve as a catalyst for change, with hopes high that the maritime industry will witness a significant increase in the number of female seafarers in the years to come.

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