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  • Efforts to establish a maritime women’s association in the Caribbean region are expected to be advanced, through the staging of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Women in Maritime Affairs (WiMA) conference in Montego Bay next week.
  • The event is aimed at supporting the efforts of the region to deepen the integration of women in the maritime sector through the institution of a WiMA for the Caribbean.
  • The IMO’s move to establish a WiMA in the Caribbean comes against the background of Jamaica’s participation in the 2nd International Conference on Maritime Women Global Leadership, which was hosted by the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmo, Sweden, from March 31 to April 1, 2014.

Efforts to establish a maritime women’s association in the Caribbean region are expected to be advanced, through the staging of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Women in Maritime Affairs (WiMA) conference in Montego Bay next week.

The 5-day confab starts on Monday (April 13) and runs through to Friday (April 17) at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Rose Hall. Representatives from 24 Caribbean states are expected to attend.

The event is aimed at supporting the efforts of the region to deepen the integration of women in the maritime sector through the institution of a WiMA for the Caribbean.

Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, and Minister of State for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, are among the scheduled keynote speakers for the conference.

The IMO, in a release, outlined the objectives of the conference to include: establishment of a regional cooperation network that promotes information, exchange, training and institutional strengthening and stimulate the integration and participation of women in the ports and maritime community of the Caribbean; enhancing national/regional recognition of the role of women in the port and maritime sectors of the Caribbean with a view to contributing to the implementation of IMO instruments through regional maritime strategies; strengthening the cooperation network among women in the port and maritime sectors in the region; and increasing employment opportunities for women in national maritime administrations, port authorities and maritime training institutions.

The IMO’s gender programme is marking the 27th year of existence this year. One of the drivers of the programme has been the establishment of formal regional linkages between women managers in the maritime and port sectors, to provide a permanent channel for the exchange of information.

To date, six associations have been established in various regions globally under the auspices of the IMO. However, there is none in the Caribbean.

The IMO’s move to establish a WiMA in the Caribbean comes against the background of Jamaica’s participation in the 2nd International Conference on Maritime Women Global Leadership, which was hosted by the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmo, Sweden, from March 31 to April 1, 2014.

Jamaica was invited to participate and present the Caribbean point of view in a paper entitled: ‘Women in the Maritime Sector: Surviving and thriving in a Man’s World – a Caribbean Perspective’.

The findings and recommendations of this paper were informed by a survey conducted over eight of Caribbean states and involved some 40 female maritime professionals from various sectors of the industry. One of the recommendations emanating from the survey was the need for the establishment of a national/regional association.

During that conference, it was noted that maritime women associations have already been established in most regions of the world. Based on the presentations made by participants from these regions, the benefits to be derived from such an association were evident.

At the end of that conference, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica wrote to the IMO Secretary General highlighting the findings of the paper and requested the consideration of the IMO in providing similar support to the Caribbean, as it had given to other regions in establishing their regional associations of female maritime professionals.