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20-05-2024 20:17

Address by the Commissioner for Gender Equality, Ms Josie Christodoulou, on the occasion of the International Day for Women in Maritime

First of all, I would like to congratulate but also thank the Deputy Minister of Shipping, my dear friend Marina, for organising this event to celebrate women in maritime for the second consecutive year and for basically institutionalising it. The event also brings the global to local.  

Marina, as all other ministers and deputy ministers, and in the framework of gender mainstreaming in public policies, has taken up gender equality within the maritime sector and, yes, we are currently working closely and proceeding with different actions.  

Before I say a few words about these actions, I would like to quickly frame the issue once again. Most of you have already heard me say that the Cyprus government is making new efforts to mainstream gender in a horizontal and holistic manner in public policies. Gender mainstreaming is the tool that helps us embed gender equality within our culture and to lead by example. It is true, and this is not me saying it but the wider civil society, that for the first time in the history –or rather herstory– of our country, the government is vocal about gender equality, undertaking concrete actions and implementing practical policies that accelerate the process of promoting gender equality and women’s rights.   

Within our efforts to mainstream gender in public policies, the maritime sector could not be left out. It is for this reason that our strategy includes a specific thematic priority on Gender and Maritime: Promoting equal representation of women and men in blue professions. 

Given that women are under-represented in the shipping sector, it is necessary to map and record the maritime professions, the level and degree of representation of women and men, their different needs and possible barriers they face. 

In this direction, the Statistical Service, with the help of Wista, which kindly shared with us a catalogue of these professions, is currently recording the above. The next step is to conduct a qualitative study to identify the needs and barriers faced by both women and men in the maritime sector. We will therefore have a more comprehensive picture of the gendered differences that will help us design more targeted policies and actions in promoting substantive equal representation of both women and men in the sector.   

At the same time, and in memory of my dear friend Christiana Kouta, the Ministerial Council has institutionalised 10 scholarships for women. In 2023, the scholarships were awarded to women in STEAM professions directly linked with maritime and shipping and in 2024 they will be given to women who intend to undertake studies in maritime fields, exclusively.  

Dear friends,  

Before closing, I would like to congratulate Despoina Theodosiou, the recipient of the first ever International Maritime Organization (IMO) Gender Equality Award. Her pivotal and leading role in advancing gender equality and empowering women throughout her tenure as President of Wista International makes Cyprus and us women extremely proud. Congratulations for the well-deserved award.