A conference focusing on the enhanced role and contribution of women in the maritime industry and promoting the development and viability of the Caribbean maritime ecosystem got under way Monday at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.
At the opening Monday morning, Sherice Arman delivered a welcome on behalf of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) and WiMAC Cayman. Ms. Arman is president of WISTA and national liaison of WiMAC Cayman.
“There is no more important role than charting the course for our daughters to follow,” Ms. Arman said. “My mother was determined. Nanny was determined. Mary [Evelyn Wood] was determined. We need to be as determined as they were in the hope that one day some young woman will look back from above that glass ceiling and say ‘somewhere, one day, someone who I didn’t even know got determined for me, and I’m going to do the same for her and for those who follow.’ And that will be our rich reward for the work that we do this week.”
With the support of WISTA, the forum is facilitated through the International Maritime Organization, a U.N. agency responsible for security, pollution-control and shipping safety in seafaring.
In a statement, Ms. Arman said the event not only aligns with WiMAC’s mission to foster the development and participation of women in the maritime sector and contribute to the growth of the industry within the region, but also “considers current and emerging development trends that impact different areas and sub-sectors in the maritime sphere.”
She said the forum focuses on deliberations “in the context of women’s rights and access that affect their economic participation, professional development and well-being in the maritime sector.”
Also on Monday, Pamela Tansey, technical cooperation adviser at the International Maritime Organization, delivered a message on behalf of the organization’s secretary general.
“What we’re doing is charting a course for the maritime sector,” she said. “And in doing so we’re charting a course for the Caribbean.”
Ms. Tansey called for more female representation in the industry.
“Our message is, we’re here to help in any way we can because women suffer from three things. They’re not that visible; they’re not recognized often by their employers, their peers, or the people working for them; and the third thing they don’t have is access to promotion.
“So the work that you’re going to do this week is pull these strands together, so that you’re going to be the best resource for the maritime sector.”
Premier Alden McLaughlin also addressed the representatives from about 16 countries.
“Today woman ply the seas in all sorts of roles,” said Mr. McLaughlin. “One objective of this conference is to foster the development and participation of women in the maritime sector, and contribute to the growth of the industry in the region.”
Vivian Rambarath-Parasram, program leader of Maritime Studies for the University of Trinidad and Tobago, said in an interview before the conference that the event will help build networks in the region.
“Through this initiative, we hope to start the conversation that will lead too change” in gender sensitivity issues in the sector.