A message from John Rowley, CEO, Wallem Group on International Day for Women in Maritime 2024 John Rowley, CEO, Wallem Group 2024-05-21 08:44

A message from John Rowley, CEO, Wallem Group on International Day for Women in Maritime 2024 
 John Rowley, CEO, Wallem Group
The IMO International Day for Women in Maritime 2024 is both a celebration and a renewed call to action for our industry as it acknowledges its progress and opportunities in addressing gender imbalance. 
IMO's commitment to progress is enshrined in UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality), however global commitments are open to interpretation, while it is also fair to recognise unconscious bias as a widespread phenomenon. 
Fortunately, substantive work is being done to promote the recruitment, retention, and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector, whether as seafarers, maritime professionals, or in leadership positions. 
IMO's award of consultative status to WISTA International, for example, provides a platform to benchmark the pace of change and we look forward to reviewing the 2024 Women in Maritime Survey against research in 2021. 
We must accept that our own organisation remains one of gender imbalance. However, given that Wallem’s vision for shipping is that “the future is human,” it will be no surprise to learn that I wholeheartedly endorse this year's over-arching IMO theme of Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety.
We can also say that Wallem has been working hard to change across our divisions, and enable Wallem women to bring forward their perspectives, concerns, and innovations. We are proud members of WISTA across a number of countries.
In fact, in recently inviting a number of women working at Wallem to reflect on their roles, we asked what we have been doing right and what more we can do.
If more than one of our respondents flagged up our industry as “male-dominated,” I was encouraged that responses described Wallem as an employer that recognises talent and passion regardless of gender, which is also inclusive and equitable on learning opportunities and promotion. I was also gratified that respondents acknowledged ‘gender equity’ as extending to leadership roles.
While the number of Wallem women seafarers admittedly remains small, I was also delighted to note that a culture of gender equality was also said to apply on board Wallem’s managed vessels.
And, while “nothing is impossible for women even in this male-dominated industry” – as one of our respondents puts it - we were reminded that there is room for improvement. Promoting non-discriminatory behaviour and upholding accountability demands continuous attention, our respondents opined, while decision-making – too - is an area for inclusivity.
We also know that gender bias and stereotyping are everyday occurrences, even in organisations committed to diversity and inclusion.
I share this feedback here to encourage the collaborative approach so often invoked when maritime voices express themselves as in favour of progressive attitudes. If it does not qualify as what our marketing friends describe as ‘through leadership,’ I am content to offer it as an invitation to ‘joined up thinking.’ 
by John Rowley, CEO, Wallem Group 

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.

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