AS THE clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, it was not just a time to bid farewell to the old but also an opportunity to welcome the new.
For women involved in maritime activities in Australia, the dawn of a new year offers a chance to set sail into a sea of possibilities and achievements. In this traditionally male-dominated industry, breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings becomes not just a resolution but a mission. Let’s explore some empowering New Year’s resolutions tailored for women in maritime activities in our region.
CULTIVATE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE
The maritime industry continues to evolve, with new technologies and regulations changing what we do, and how we do it. Women in maritime already have significant breadth of expertise, and we need to keep up to date. As a woman in maritime, make it a focus for 2024 to cultivate knowledge and expertise in your field. Stay abreast of the latest advancements, attend industry conferences, and engage in continuous learning through courses and workshops. Becoming a subject matter expert not only boosts your confidence but also contributes to fostering a culture of inclusivity and diversity within the industry. And who doesn’t need a boost in confidence sometimes?
FOSTER MENTORSHIP AND NETWORKING
Building a network of support is essential. Resolve to foster mentorship relationships and expand your professional network. You can do this by fostering mentorship – both as a mentor and a mentee – and by networking.
Seek out mentors who can provide guidance based on their experiences in the maritime sector. Offer your expertise as a mentor to help others in the industry. If you are a member of The Nautical Institute (NI), The Company of Master Mariners Australia (CMMA) or the Australasian Marine Pilots Institute (AMPI) make sure you take advantage of the Australian Maritime Mentoring Program. Or, if you are a member of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) you can check out their mentoring program. Other opportunities in Australia include the PIANC Australia & New Zealand Members Mentoring Program and Offshore & Specialists Ships Australia.
Additionally, actively participate in networking events, both in person and online, to connect with like-minded individuals who can offer insights and opportunities. Creating a supportive community within the maritime industry strengthens the position of women and facilitates professional growth.
ADVOCATE FOR INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY
The maritime industry, like many others, has historically been male-dominated. As a woman navigating these waters, make it a resolution to advocate for inclusivity and diversity. As a male navigating these waters, make it a resolution to be an ally – which may include learning what it means to be an ally! Encourage and support initiatives that aim to bridge the gender gap in maritime activities. Be vocal about the importance of diverse perspectives, and actively participate in discussions and forums that promote equality. By being a catalyst for change, you contribute to creating an environment where diversity is are valued and respected.
PROMOTE WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Working in the maritime sector often involves extended periods away from home – whether you are working onboard ship, working in marine operations or doing shiftwork. Balancing work responsibilities with personal life can be challenging, particularly for women with families. In the new year, make it a resolution to prioritise and promote work-life balance – this supports not only your physical health, but also mental health. Advocate for flexible work arrangements when possible, and support policies that recognise the unique challenges faced by women in maritime activities. By fostering a healthy balance, you not only enhance your own well-being but also contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive work environment.
EMBRACE LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
One powerful resolution for women in maritime activities is to embrace leadership opportunities. This can be daunting, especially if you are suffering from imposter syndrome! But the value is priceless – to your own confidence and also as a ‘visible leader’. “See it, Believe it, Be it!”
Whether it’s taking on a managerial role, participating in leadership development programs, or aspiring to serve on industry boards, stepping into leadership positions is essential for breaking barriers. By demonstrating competence and leadership skills, women can pave the way for future generations of maritime professionals, inspiring others to follow suit.
PRIORITISE SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
The maritime industry is not only about transporting goods but also about safeguarding lives and preserving the environment. Make it a resolution to prioritise safety and environmental sustainability in your maritime activities. Advocate for and adhere to safety protocols, ensuring the wellbeing of yourself and your colleagues. Additionally, champion environmentally friendly practices, supporting initiatives that promote sustainability within the maritime sector.
BREAK STEREOTYPES AND CHALLENGE BIAS
In the new year, resolve to break stereotypes and challenge bias in the maritime industry. Be proactive in addressing and dismantling gender-based stereotypes that may exist. Showcase your skills and capabilities, proving that gender is not a limitation in achieving success in maritime activities. By challenging bias, you contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable industry for women.
CO-ORDINATED COLLABORATION AND EDUCATION
There are many pockets of activity with a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, acceptance, and access (DEIA). In 2024 let’s focus on sharing, co-ordinating, and collaborating to make the best use of our energy and resources. As we learned from Malcolm Gladwell and his book The Tipping Point little things can make a big difference! We know what an ‘epidemic’ looks like, and how quickly that curve can swing – let’s move that in a positive direction and put our learning to good use. This includes educating others on what DEIA is, and how every one of us can be a catalyst for change!
As we set sail into a new year, these resolutions can serve as a compass, guiding us all toward empowerment, success, and equality. By cultivating knowledge, fostering mentorship, advocating for inclusivity, promoting work-life balance, embracing leadership, prioritising safety, challenging biases, coordinating collaboration, we can navigate DEIA through the waters of the maritime industry with confidence and resilience. As the maritime landscape evolves, so too can the role of women within it, charting a course for a more diverse and inclusive future.
This article appeared in the February 2024 edition of DCN Magazine