Over the last few years, the shipping industry has witnessed a shift in leadership. Although this shift has been relatively slow in the shipping and ports sector, there has been a definite evolution in the representation of women. WISTA has provided a platform for accomplished women to exchange knowledge, work experience and their overall contribution to the maritime industry. It has helped bring together like-minded individuals and has facilitated mentoring and awareness programmes to shed light on the various growth opportunities available to women in this erstwhile male-dominated sector. WISTA has organised numerous road shows and events in the last four decades to empower women and ascertain gender diversity in our industry.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the maritime industry today is the lack of awareness about the industry. Very few curriculum's focus on port management. We would need to start from scratch by introducing a comprehensive curriculum dedicated to this industry at the school and college level. The maritime industry should attempt to pool in their resources in order to facilitate this initiative. A two-pronged approach involving awareness programmes and introducing relevant courses would ensure that the youth can make a better-informed choice.
While awareness programmes and the introduction of a maritime curriculum will be the best way forward for women and the youth alike; another factor which would interest women in particular, would be an overall perception management activity. This would considerably alter its image from a male-dominated/hierarchical occupation to a gender neutral career option. There is a need to highlight roles within the industry that women would find favorable. It is crucial that organizations communicate these roles to prospective female candidates so as to equip them with the right information and encourage goodwill.