Dubai, UAE: The Arab Women in Maritime Association (AWIMA) has recently arranged its first gathering in the UAE with the presence of female representatives from both government and private sectors. The event was strategically supported by Women in International Shipping Association “WISTA-ARABIA UAE” and it aimed to raise the awareness about AWIMA-UAE, emphasize the importance of empowering women in the maritime sector and to further enhance their presence in the industry.
AWIMA was established on 19th of October 2017 under the patronage of the International Maritime Organization (IMO, The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transports (AASTMT), and it includes 11 Arab counties such as Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria, Djibouti, Sudan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq and Libya . The association has prominent objectives such as enhancing the national and regional recognition of the role of Arab women as resources for Maritime industry, strengthening cooperation networks among Arab women in the port and maritime sectors on the local, regional, and international levels, increasing employment opportunities for Arab women at the high management levels of the related sectors in maritime transport, developing partnerships and collaboration with national maritime administrations, regional entities, UN agencies and the private sector in addition to encouraging gender equality for Arab women in the maritime sector.
The maritime industry has always been known worldwide as being a male dominated sector, thereby making it difficult for women to join and function easily within the industry. International organizations are exerting their utmost efforts to achieve an effective balance where women will have the same presence in the industry as men does in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 of the United Nations. That’swhy, AWIMA’s main role isn’t only to empower females but also to qualify them with all the possible opportunities that will enhance their maritime career.
Speaking during the event, Eng. Hessa Al Malek, Executive Director of Maritime Transport for the Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime (FTA) and the President of AWIMA clarified, “With the global maritime sector being made up of only 2% of females, balancing the gender scales is a lofty task but one that I am excited to work on achieving. Our mission is to increase employment opportunities for Arab women at senior management levels of the relevant maritime transport sectors, develop partnerships and collaborate with national maritime administrations, regional entities, United Nations agencies and the private sector. We also aim to reinforce women’s engagement in the maritime sector.”
AlMalek added, “The need to advance women’s role in maritime activities has become a subject of unprecedented awareness and interest. I totally support AWIMA’s contribution to take specific measures, through its strategic planning and at the operational level of educational co-operation, to promote the increased participation of women in the maritime sector. I also believe that raising the awareness about the important role of females in the maritime sector is a must. Here comes the role of the media that should signify and expose women’s distinctive achievements in the maritime sector.”
She concluded, “We all believe that women participation is vital to this industry. Thanks to the advancement of technology, the demand for physical power has been turned into a growing demand for brainpower making easier for women to fulfill their tasks in the industry. The maritime community shouldn’t only believe that women are talented and they can accomplish tough jobs but they must be given leadership roles within the industry. This can be achieved by equipping them with the right education, training and skills in addition to empowering them within all the maritime professions.”