Supporting gender equality, empowering women – World Maritime Day

On Thursday 26 September, IMO and the global maritime community celebrate the annual World Maritime Day, under the theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”.

“Gender equality has been recognized as one of the key platforms on which people can build a sustainable future. It is one of the 17 goals that underpin the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda, which countries all over the world have pledged to implement,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

“Helping our Member States achieve the SDGs and deliver the 2030 Agenda is one of our key strategic directions. Gender equality and decent work for all are among those goals – SDGs 5 and 8- and, although we are highlighting the role of women in the maritime community this year, I want to stress that this is part of a continuing, long-term effort in support of these objectives,” Mr. Lim said.

Numerous activities throughout 2019 have helped support the message that, for sustainability and success in the modern world, empowering women in the maritime community makes sense. Shipping needs diversity in the workforce. (A list of activities which IMO has been directly involved in can be found here.)

This year, IMO is inviting the entire maritime world to highlight and showcase their commitment to empowering women and to supporting SDG 5 on gender equality. Join us by posting your photos, stories and messages of support on social media, using the hashtags, #WorldMaritimeDay and #WomeninMaritime.

IMO’s Women in Maritime programme will continue to support the empowerment of women in the maritime sector in years to come, through gender specific fellowships; by facilitating access to high-level technical training for women in the maritime sector in developing countries; by creating the environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes; and by facilitating the establishment of professional women in maritime associations, particularly in developing countries.

“Women in the maritime world today are strong, powerful and constantly challenging old-fashioned perceptions. Experience tells us that diversity is better; it’s better for teamwork, better for leadership – and better for commercial performance. The maritime world is changing. And for the better. With help from IMO, and other organizations, exciting and rewarding career opportunities are opening up for women. And a new generation of strong and talented women are responding. They are proving that in today’s world the maritime industries are for everyone. It’s not about your gender, it’s about what you can do,” Mr. Lim said.

Mr. Lim urged all stakeholders to continue to work to break down barriers and empower women in the maritime community.

2019 events and activities – marking World Maritime Day

World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day. Every year, it provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work. Each year has its own world maritime theme, which is used to steer events and activities throughout the year. 

Governments, individually, jointly and regionally are encouraged to mark World Maritime Day on a date of their choosing but usually in the last week of September. 

A series of activities and events have already been held during 2019 related to the theme, Empowering Women in the Maritime Community. Many maritime stakeholders have enthusiastically taken up the theme, which has been highlighted at seminars, conferences and panel discussions. 

IMO has been directly involved in numerous events. Amongst other activities, an IMO film Turning the Tide, showing how IMO’s Women in Maritime programme is helping to support gender diversity in the maritime sector, premiered earlier this year.

World Maritime Day Parallel Event

The World Maritime Day Parallel Event was held in Cartagena, Colombia (15-17 September).  Read more here.


Click here to read more about World Maritime Day 2019 and find logos, the message from the Secretary-General, video of the message and more.

Social Media

Governments, organizations, companies and training institutes, as well as individuals, are encouraged to let IMO know how World Maritime Day is being celebrated, and to highlight initiatives they have been undertaking or are planning to support gender equality in their country, organization or other entity.

Hashtags #WorldMaritimeDay #WomeninMaritime @IMOHQ

World maritime theme for 2020

For 2020, the world maritime theme is “Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet,” with a particular emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 5. Read more here

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