Maersk's Equal At Sea 2023: Towards an inclusive future
Maersk sees 5X increase in women among fresh cadets in India - one year after launch of Equal At Sea initiative
Maersk, a global integrator of logistics, announced the Maersk Women Rating Programme in collaboration with training ship Rahaman.
"With this programme, we aim to initiate a pilot group consisting of 20 women ratings," says an official release.
Ratings are crew members who support officers and engineers in the operation and maintenance of vessels. "Currently, the presence of active women ratings in India is almost non-existent. This programme’s objective would be to enable women in the maritime industry to access advanced technical training and offer employment sponsorship upon their admission to partner institutes. Such opportunities can generate greater interest among women to enrol in the programme and retain women seafarers within the fleet."
The announcement was made during the second edition of Equal At Sea 2023 with the theme - Charting a course towards an inclusive future. "The event aimed at taking stock of the progress made since the launch of the Equal At Sea initiative in 2022 and providing a platform for the industry to create opportunities for facilitating industry-wide transformation and empowering women to pursue rewarding careers at sea."
The event was attended by Shyam Jagannathan, Director General of Shipping, Ajithkumar Sukumaran, Chief Surveyor (Govt of India), Deepak Shetty, Former Director General of Shipping, Capt. Girish Phadnis, Chairman, Maritime Association of Shipowners Shipmanagers and Agents (MASSA) and Capt. Sankalp Shukla, Chairman, Foreign Owners Representatives and Ship Managers Association (FOSMA).
"Our continuous efforts and immense support from the industry has started realising the future of creating an equitable environment at sea for women to thrive in," says Karan Kochhar, Head of Marine People, Asia, Maersk. "Through our initiatives, we have been able to successfully inspire more women to choose seafaring as a career. We are on track to achieve our goal of having 50 percent women amongst fresh cadet intake in India after having gone from 7.6 percent of Indian women cadet intake in 2021 to a significantly increased 35 percent in 2022."
Concerns, way out and why gender parity alone is not enough
Maersk addressed concerns around safety and well-being at sea. "Experts like Sanjam Sahi Gupta - Director, Sitara Shipping and Founder, Maritime SheEO, Divya Nair, Clinical Psychologist, Fleet Management and Amalie Grevsen, Marine Culture Lead, Maersk, emphasised the significance of safety, well-being, and preparedness in the maritime environment with the goal of creating a safer and healthier ecosystem."
Niels Bruus, Head of Marine People & Culture, Maersk says: "When we launched Equal At Sea last year, our ambition was to inspire a positive change in a sector dominated by a mindset that doesn’t support gender equality. We are happy to see that at the second iteration of this event, there are more and more stakeholders agreeing with our goal and willingly contributing towards it. At Maersk, we have carefully designed initiatives to transform seafaring into a safe and aspiring career, encouraging young women to aim for their future at sea. Maersk's global women seafarer count has grown from two percent in 2021 to 3.3 percent in 2023, and we are committed to facilitating a further increase in women seafarers worldwide. In our quest for equality, we are committed to playing an active role by sharing our learnings, training material, and other valuable content with individuals, organisations, and institutions who share our vision."
HK Joshi, Former Chairperson, Shipping Corporation of India highlighted the need to emphasise on intellectual parity rather than gender parity. Harpreet Singh, Executive Director, Air India, added that putting women on a pedestal creates more problems than opportunities. “There’s no point in dwelling on the past..move on, create opportunities.”
Shalini Nataraj, Employee Experience Officer, Maersk spoke about biases in recruitment (and how to overcome them).
The event also showcased interviews with crew members on board, what motivates them to sail…and interestingly, what biases they expect to change in the coming years.