In late May, Gnostech Vice President Sarah Carter delivered a speech at the Organization of the American States (OAS) Inter-American Committee on Ports (CIP)’s Hemispheric Seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Gender Equality in Lima, Peru. The seminar, held from May 23 to May 25, 2018, focused on how to create a competitive and inclusive maritime-port sector.
As a panelist, Sarah contended that in order to advance economic participation in the maritime-port sector, we must “fight with two hands,” that is, taking advantage of the talent both men and women have to offer. With a glaringly large minority of women in the maritime-port sector, industry leaders must aim to attract women into the field in order to cease “fighting with one hand behind our back.” Sarah focused her speech on how maritime-port companies can improve upon their economic participation strategies to boost effectiveness and competitiveness by highlighting three key ideas: recruitment, retention, and professional development. With an effective human capital strategy, Sarah argued that the maritime industry can then “fight with both hands.”
Sarah’s speech rings true in the maritime industry; there is an immense gender gap in this field. As Sarah cited in her speech, women make up only 2% of the maritime-port sector, while, overall, women comprise 50% of the labor market. Further, according to a survey conducted by the British International Freight Association, less than 1% of companies within the shipping sector have female representatives in executive positions. The statistics are striking: change must be made in order to recruit countless more women into the maritime industry.
In addition to her presentation at the Hemispheric Seminar on CSR and Gender Equality, Sarah also contributed to the May 2018 edition of the CIP Magazine: “Empowerment of Women: Equality in Ports.” The issue included opinion articles, analyses, and technical reports related to professional training and capacity-building initiatives for the maritime-port sector in the Western Hemisphere.
In her article entitled “Strategies for Increased Participation and Retention”, Sarah noted that in order to increase the presence of women in the maritime industry, we must ensure that this initiative is not merely a discussion on International Women’s Day or during a CSR and Gender Equality Conference. Rather, Sarah explains that “for meaningful, cultural change to occur, leaders should embrace bringing more women into all facets of the maritime-port industry.”
Sarah furthered her ideas by describing the many avenues that gender equality can be incorporated into a company’s operations, like sharing the feats of women in the maritime industry, both in the past and in the present, or even creating a newsletter – like the National Port Authority does every quarter – that centers around gender equality. She also noted that there needs to be a greater emphasis on giving young women more exposure to the multitude of careers and opportunities present in the maritime industry and that female leaders need to “continuously support placing other qualified and deserving women in positions of increasing responsibility.”
Sarah’s tremendous involvement in voicing her ideas about the enormous gender gap in the maritime industry fosters awareness that a greater presence of women in this industry is not only necessary but also highly advantageous.
To read Sarah’s article, click here.