• 29th May 2018

What is being done to support women in the shipping industry?

The shipping market has seen a recent growth and the demand for qualified seafarers has never been greater. But what is being done to support and attract more women to work in shipping?

It is thought that only 2% of global seafarers are women and 94% of these work on either cruise ships or passenger ferries. Research by Ship Technology found that there has been an increase in the number of women in shipping in North and Central America and Northern and Southern Europe. However, the countries most behind the times in terms of gender equality in the shipping market are in South East Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia and India.

So what is being done around the world to support women already in shipping, and to attract female recruits to the industry?


The removal of the single-child policy and a new country-wide drive to broaden the training of cadets, including females, could help address a longstanding shortfall in the numbers of women seafarers.

Central America

In 2017 central and Latin America launched a maritime network for women which joins the IMO family, the Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs). This gives additional recognition to the key role women play in the Maritime sector.


Maritime UK has set up a task force to increase the number of women in shipping. Companies now have to publish their gender pay gap which highlighted a mean difference of 46.4% between male and female hourly rates and a mean bonus gap of 67.6%, which should apply pressure to the market to offer equal pay rates to both men and women.

Worldwide, the introduction of associations, such as the WIMAs and the Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association (WISTA) offer specific support to aspiring women to give them the skills and confidence they need to break into leadership and management roles in the shipping industry. Today, WISTA has over 3,000 members from over 40 countries.

The drive for women in shipping could help plug a future skills shortage predicted by BIMCO, reporting that an additional 147,500 officers will be needed by 2025 to service the world merchant fleet.

At Navis Consulting, we work hard, alongside leading shipping companies and candidates, to ensure women in shipping are remunerated and treated fairly throughout the recruitment process.

We want to hear from you… do you think enough is being done to promote and support women in the shipping industry?

Send us a message or tweet us to let us know your thoughts.

Key facts about the shipping industry

  • It’s the greenest high volume transportation method. According to The Atlantic, sending a container from Shanghai to Le Harve, France¬†(11,743 nautical miles) emits fewer greenhouse gasses than the truck that takes it on to Leon (514 miles)
  • 20 million containers on approximately 55,000 container ships are travelling across the world’s oceans at any one time
  • Container ships travel the equivalent of three-quarters of the way to the moon and back in one year during their regular travel across the oceans
  • The average container ship engine is 1,000 times more powerful than a family car
  • Economically speaking, shipping is huge. In the UK, it accounts for more GDP than Restaurants, Takeaway Food and Civil Engineering combined


  • https://safety4sea.com/new-network-supporting-women-maritime-launched/
  • https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/08/shipping-industry-bigger-you-can-imagine/312253/
  • https://fairplay.ihs.com/commerce/article/4296511/maritime-uk-taskforce-to-increase-number-of-women-in-senior-shipping-roles
  • https://www.bimco.org/news/press-releases/20160517_bimco_manpower_report
  • https://www.ship-technology.com/features/featurewomen-in-shipping-pushing-for-gender-diversity-5907538/
  • https://www.maritimeuk.org/media-centre/blog-posts/redressing-gender-balance/
All aboard!

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site find out more