Category: Maritime Technology

Actioning True Gender Diversity - WISTA to Address at #DataccioConnect Colombo

Share:

( words)

Image Courtesy: WISTA SL

Through presentations and a panel, WISTA members will speak about their experiences and highlight actionable details that can be implemented to truly empower women in the maritime sector.


Singapore, February 13 - The IMO has recognised the need for gender diversity in the maritime industry by making the theme of World Maritime Day - ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’. #DataccioConnect endorses this and has partnered with WISTA Sri Lanka for their upcoming event in Colombo, which will also double up as women’s day celebrations for the latter.


At the recently held #DataccioConnect event in Dubai, WISTA members gave voice to their experiences as women in the maritime industry and why gender diversity has still some way to go.


This discussion will get more intense in Colombo as we venture beyond just the psyche and touch upon actual logistics and the infrastructure required to equip the maritime community with real tools to empower women.


Speaking about the activities of WISTA SL, Rukshila Antony De Saram, Director, C.G.V Antony & Sons (Pte) Ltd & President WISTA Sri Lanka adds, “WISTA SL is a professional body which helps to create a platform in the maritime field to support, educate and empower women. It has taken the initiative to help and support females to pursue careers in this male dominated sector. The first female gantry crane operators in South East Asia are proud products of our country. We have helped these eleven ladies by means of creating a program on their requirements to enhance overall performance. WISTA SL also liaised with port terminals to ensure better working hours for these female operators.
Through knowledge sharing WISTA SL has been able to break barriers to encourage females to pursue careers in the this still taboo industry, and not to limit themselves to the typical stereotype professions. Whilst encouraging and educating school girls about the vast potential in this sector we have also helped female students at University level to pursue careers in this field. Through the WISTA SL network we have been able to facilitate work placements for these university students.”


Nilu Mediwake Wickremasinghe, Director, SALOTA International (Pvt) Ltd & General Secretary, WISTA Sri Lanka, gives voice to the impact WISTA is making on the younger generation, “Women empowerment is one sustainable talent management strategy for global talent shortage. Organizations must invest in women empowerment to acquire and retain best talents. The lack of quality work-life balance has led to less women leaders creating gender disparity in leadership. Employers in male dominated industries such as maritime should adapt different strategies to approach the needs and requirements of women to secure best talents.
While we expect employers to take steps in improving gender diversity within organizations, WISTA Sri Lanka is reaching out to the younger generation to create awareness among young girls on available job
opportunities in the maritime and related industries at university and school levels. Every year since 2014, WISTA Sri Lanka organizes a career drive for students in universities and girls’ schools along with teachers, which includes a field visit to give them an exposure to ports, terminals and warehouses. Professionals at WISTA Sri Lanka represent at these schools’ careers development programs and our presentations include higher education opportunities, expected work ethics in the industry and how to be successfully competitive in the maritime sector. We expect this will help improve gender diversity in future.


Adding to this, Shehara Jayawardhana, Joint MD McLarens Holdings & Founder WISTA Sri Lankaopines, Balance for Better. The International Women’s Day theme for 2019 pushes for a gender balanced world, whether it’s in wealth, in Corporates, in schools, in government, in sports, in everything. With maritime, logistics and trade connecting diverse cultures around the world, it’s paramount these cultures incorporate the importance of gender balance to everyday life. A balance for better starts with a thought, a perspective of how one chooses to view women and their untapped reservoir of talent, regardless of their national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political views. It’s our responsibility today to teach our kids the value of a gender balanced world, so their futures will have a little less conflict and a little more unity.


Sanjam Sahi Gupta, Director, Sitara Shipping Ltd. & WISTA International Board Member - Asia Pacific & Middle East Region, addressing the recent survey she formulated for identifying women in the Indian maritime scenario reiterates, “As part of my Sandvik India Gender Awards 2018 (SIGA), I took up the initiative of conducting a survey about women employment and working conditions in the Indian Maritime Industry with support from Sandvik Group and United Nations Global Compact. The office of Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India extended support to this initiative.” She continues, “my goals are to increase women’s participation by 25% by 2030 and eliminate all forms of biases against women in the Maritime Industry by 2050. This will help highlight best practices in the Industry and identify the gaps in the industry to make their working life better, suggest more women friendly policies. Further we aim to build a robust list of resources for the industry to use related to diversity and Create recommendations and guidelines to Ministry of Shipping for increasing the capacity of women in the industry by promoting diversity, inclusion & open-mindedness.”


Chaitaly Mehta, Director, EKF Logistics & member of WISTA India says, “Gender Diversity to me isn’t an issue with the maritime and logistics industry but a problem that is prevalent everywhere in our homes, in our friendships and yes of course, at work.
It’s a stereotype because thats how society functions. There are very few men in the real sense who accept and appreciate progressive women and women being more successful than them. I have had the privilege of knowing few. In my 2 decades in this industry, more often than not, I have had to fight to earn my basic respect all because my colleagues or team members couldn't handle or accept that I, being a woman, was right or more successful than them. We cannot blame them, I cannot blame them because thats what they know.
It’s a stereotype because thats how society functions. There are very few men in the real sense who accept and appreciate progressive women and women being more successful than them. I have had the privilege of knowing few. In my 2 decades in this industry, more often than not, I have had to fight to earn my basic respect all because my colleagues or team members couldn't handle or accept that I, being a woman, was right or more successful than them. We cannot blame them, I cannot blame them because thats what they know.
It’s a stereotype because thats how society functions. There are very few men in the real sense who accept and appreciate progressive women and women being more successful than them. I have had the privilege of knowing few. In my 2 decades in this industry, more often than not, I have had to fight to earn my basic respect all because my colleagues or team members couldn't handle or accept that I, being a woman, was right or more successful than them. We cannot blame them, I cannot blame them because thats what they know.
It’s a stereotype because thats how society functions. There are very few men in the real sense who accept and appreciate progressive women and women being more successful than them. I have had the privilege of knowing few. In my 2 decades in this industry, more often than not, I have had to fight to earn my basic respect all because my colleagues or team members couldn't handle or accept that I, being a woman, was right or more successful than them. We cannot blame them, I cannot blame them because thats what they know.
When I joined business, I was young and wanted to prove myself for many reasons. We found I was a natural at sales and I handled this for my company. My zeal, enthusiasm and inherent need for follow up and not giving up was termed "aggressive" whereas my male friends were “dynamic”. To get that tag off, I had to work doubly hard and actually explain to people who could sway public opinion that it was not aggression! After talking to a candidate for a year, we took him on board as a possible assistant to me and to replace me in many places. To my surprise he confessed he couldn't accept a lady boss and had difficulty in reporting to me!
Lack of hygiene, inadequate security, feeling of insecurity from male colleagues, workers, team players, even clients, constant struggle to juggle responsibilities are just some of the issues women have to deal with. If the basic mindset is not changed both of men and women - because women have to realise that like home, work is also their responsibility and at the drop of a hat they cannot run away or quit, the industry wont progress.”


Catriona Jayasundera, General Manager - Commercial and Marketing, Colombo International Container Terminals Limited, summing up the discussion states, “equal opportunity is not just words to be declared at public forums. The maritime sector needs to take on a more active approach and make a safer and more inclusive environment for women to thrive.”


The WISTA panel that will include perspectives from professionals across the maritime & logistics ecosystem will discuss step-wise action plans and gaps the maritime sector currently faces with respect to the inclusion and empowerment of women. Panelists will engage with delegates in attendance during the session so that the idea of gender diversity can truly materialise and make the once traditional and male dominated working environment a place both welcoming and encouraging of women.

For registration, sponsorship and more information about the event, go to www.dataccioconnect.com or write
to priyanka@proternio.com.

Most Read