A bid to get more women involved in the traditionally male shipping industry was launched yesterday.
Tammy Richardson-Augustus, director of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association in Bermuda, handed over a booklet designed to promote gender diversity to representatives of the cargo ships Somers Isles, Bermuda Islander and Oleander to mark today’s International Women’s Day. Ms Richardson-Augustus said women make up 49.9 per cent of the workforce in Bermuda but just 2 per cent of seafarers on the island’s ocean-going vessels.
She added: “There are many historic and cultural reasons for that gap, but now our industry understands the need to create an environment that is more hospitable to women in the industry. At Wista Bermuda, we are proud to mark International Woman’s Day by launching the gender diversity booklet distribution campaign on the city docks.”
Ms Richardson-Augustus said: “Big change starts with incremental change. We are optimistic that education and sensitisation will be the start of a sea change in inclusivity and gender parity.”
The 24-page booklet is part of a global campaign to educate seafarers on gender diversity and was designed to make sure that women seafarers’s views are valued.
Ms Richardson-Augustus made the presentation on board the Somers Isles, with support from Polaris, the operating company for Stevedoring Services, which runs Hamilton Docks.
Wista Bermuda said it aimed to get the handbook on to every ship that docks in Bermuda.
Emiel Koelhuis, captain of the Somers Isles, added: “I haven’t seen many female seafarers in a long time, but we welcome women into the industry.
“To me it makes no difference as long as they do their job well, that is what matters.
“It is an exciting career for women and there are good wages. There is no negative culture on this ship.”
Cheryl Hayward-Chew, the Wista Bermuda founding director, accepted a copy of the booklet on behalf of the Bermuda Islander.
She said: “The value of equality and mutual respect on a team’s cohesiveness and productivity is undeniable. Gender should not be an impediment to the team’s success and the first step is understanding and empathy.”
Adele Chiasson, the Wista Bermuda representative and chief financial officer of Neptune Group Management, accepted the booklet on behalf of the Oleander.
For more information about Wista visit www.wista.net