THE INTERNATIONAL Maritime Organization and Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association have launched a speakers platform aimed at diversifying the voices on industry panels.

The Speakers Bureau platform encourages women in maritime to register as speakers for conferences, with a goal to “end the tradition of all-male speaking panels”.

By increasing the number of women speakers, IMO and WISTA said they hope to show diverse role models and “eliminate the excuse” that organisers are unable to find female speakers.

Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, president of WISTA International, said diversity is one of the key elements of a sustainable future for the industry.

“Creating this platform in collaboration with the IMO is a fantastic opportunity to help the wider maritime sector attract more diverse talent in an international industry,” she said.

“Women in our industry will be able to show their interest in participating in panels, becoming more visible and inspiring others.

“At the same time, event organisers will have the tools to make their panels more inclusive, diverse and interesting.”

IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim said the platform gives speakers the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences in their fields of expertise.

“This important initiative will support inclusive, diverse, richer panels from this free-to-use directory of industry speakers so that audiences can benefit from a range of perspectives that come from having  diverse and inclusive viewpoints,” Mr Lim said.

Registration and use of the Speakers Bureau platform is free for speakers and event organisers. Organisers can search the directory by sectors, subjects and countries.

Registered speakers can be contacted by the conference and event organisers via the platform’s email system, and speakers are free to accept or decline the invitation to speak.