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Gender equality
Women in Maritime
WISTA founders presentation - Stella, Margaret and Gina

WISTA UK celebrating our 45th Anniversary @ The IMO

On 11 July, WISTA UK held an event to celebrate its 45th Anniversary and was delighted to be able to recognise 3 of the founders, who joined them from around the world on the night, Stella Marks, Margaret Llewellyn and Gina Fyffe (the first international member).

The founders spoke about their stories – the misogyny that was all prevalent when they joined the industry in the 70 s (“I don’t want women on the trading floor “; “now that you have a baby should you stay home and look after it“), how they  stayed on anyway and developed the sisterhood that was WISTA and stayed at the top of the game . Don’t let anyone stop you doing what you want was the message with a hint of sadness that there is still a need for WISTA – and that there is still a gender pay gap.

Maria Dixon was also celebrated for being one the oldest and most visible faces of WISTA UK – for her dedication and her energy and infectious joy!

The ABBA tribute band/ the DJ: the weather and the view contributed to the IMO seeing another great event at its premises and WISTA UK ready for another 45 years – #womenwhomovetheworld #womeninshipping #womeninmaritime #the100%

WISTA UK was also able to raise £400 which will be matched by them for their two 2019 charities Seafarers UK and the Maritime Skills Alliance.

Stella Marks on founding WISTA

Interview with one of WISTA’s founding members Stella Marks

WISTA UK’s Membership officer, Teresa Peacock meets Stella Marks, Managing Director of Star Broking Services Ltd, one of the founders of WISTA (The Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association), to talk about the organisation’s growth, what it’s like for women in the shipping industry, and the changing attitudes of the world of work.

Teresa Peacock: I started in shipping 11 years ago, and somebody said to me if I was new to the industry, I should join WISTA because it would really accelerate my learning of the sector. I joined straight away, they were right, I met lots of people from all across the shipping world and I’ve been a member ever since.  I’m now Membership Secretary for WISTA UK. It’s such a great organisation to be involved in as we are all learning from each other. I’ve always wondered though:

How did WISTA come to be?

WISTA Founder Stella Marks

Stella Marks: It didn’t originally start as WISTA, we were the ‘Ladies in Shipping’ – there were 5 or 6 of us who met for lunch one Christmas in London, over 40 years ago. We continued to meet and our numbers grew. We knew some female brokers in Germany and invited them to the Christmas lunch and the following year they reciprocated by organising the first WISTA international meeting in Hamburg, effectively our first conference!   At that time women were struggling to be taken seriously by our male counterparts, so a name change was appropriate, it was then that ‘Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association’ replaced ‘Ladies in Shipping’.

Further conferences followed in different locations: Hamburg, Oslo, Lisbon, Madrid, Athens, gathering momentum on the way.  Exxon employed Gina Fyffe; Shell, Sheila Lawrence and Mobil, Heather Barker in their chartering and trading departments and thanks to the support and sponsorship of two wonderful men,  Dick Delaforce of Shell and my boss, Ted Ainsworth of Cambridge Gas, we returned to London for the tenth anniversary.  By this time our numbers had grown to over a hundred and we were on our way!  After this meeting, the London committee felt it was time to pass the reins onto the next generation who started organising the structure, with presidents and so on.

So was WISTA a happy accident?

No, we were actively trying to get shipping and trading women working in London together – oil, dry cargo and LPG – trying to build our presence and our own network. There were several industry conferences but our bosses would always send one of the guys.
Margaret Llewellyn from British Waterways, Pat Hewson and Janet Eadie of Plowright’s, Pat Butler of Traffic Services, Diana Rivers of Such and Schooley and myself from Cambridge Gas were the original London ‘team’.  Helge Zinke and  Erica Grambow were the original German ‘team’.  After the meeting in Hamburg, we were being taking more seriously and our membership numbers were increasing so we couldn’t be ignored any longer.

Was it originally set up for as a support network?

Yes. In those days it was all men, and we were tired of listening to them talking about women in derogatory terms. I was fortunate in that I had a great boss, even if he did vote against women going on the Baltic Exchange floor and say he employed me because I looked like Farrah Fawcett-Majors! – but he gave me my first break.  If nobody was going to properly listen to us, or allow us to break through the prejudice, then we had to help ourselves.  My three boys laugh now when I tell them what it was like to be a female broker and a working mum in shipping, but it really was like that.

Do you think that women have it easier now?

The gender pay gap is definitely an issue, although I do believe it’s better in the oil majors and trading houses as they have well organised HR departments.  It is better in some geographical locations so we have seen some positive changes, other locations though are still lagging behind.

When I had my first baby, a male colleague told me that taking maternity leave would be very inconvenient and a client said that I should stay at home and bring up the kids! Over the years I have known women who fought, some succeeded but some failed and left the industry.  When I started my own company I made new rules for male and female brokers.  If it was your kid’s Sports Day – go; if you child was graduating – go.  It didn’t count as annual leave and no one abused it.  We all have mobile phones now, so you’re always contactable.

Does WISTA still have an important part to play?

Now WISTA is a recognised entity; I hear it mentioned during events around the world, I am pleased and proud of what we achieved.  It’s amazing that there are over 3,000 members in 46 countries. I can’t believe it.

NGO status at the IMO is long overdue for WISTA, but again it is amazing that WISTA is there now.   The new generation of brokers, traders and owners have no understanding of the work that has gone into WISTA over the years. It didn’t happen overnight, it’s taken a lot of very hard work!

How would you like to see WISTA evolve?

There’s no reason why WISTA shouldn’t be more involved in education. I did try to do that years ago but back then we just weren’t taken seriously. Education, gaining academic qualifications and experience is incredibly important.   Maybe forging links with colleges and universities is the next step?

(Teresa: In June 2017, the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International) and the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers(ICS) partnered to increase the professional competence and enhance educational opportunities for women in the maritime industry. The two organisations signed an MOU,  offering seven scholarships annually (five offered by the ICS and two by WISTA) over the next 10 years to individuals nominated by WISTA International. The scholarship covers the Foundation Diploma programme at The Institute. The goal of the scholarship programme is to provide individuals with a deeper knowledge of the maritime industry– the Foundation Diploma is ideal for individuals with maritime experience who are interested in gaining additional practical and commercial skills and knowledge. In addition to a general shipping component, the diploma allows an individual to select a specialized subject area. These are dry cargo chartering, ship operations and management, ship sale and purchase, tanker chartering, liner trades, port agency, logistics and multimodal transport, port and terminal management, offshore support industry, shipping law, maritime insurance, and shipping finance. The scholarship programme is available to all WISTA members worldwide. Individuals must be nominated by their National WISTA Association by and selection is being made by a specially appointed WISTA HR Committee. For more info on the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers please visit: https://www.ics.org.uk)

What advice would you give to women coming up through the industry now?

Unfortunately, sexism is not a thing of the past.  Sometimes it is an unconscious bias, but it is still there.  There are still lads’ clubs in all walks of life.

I think it’s still difficult for women in shipping in some countries but I do think things are changing slowly but surely. Today’s young men have a different view towards equality and diversity and therefore the future looks much more positive.

My ultimate advice is: DON’T give up!

How to be a Non-Executive Director


WISTA UK members were urged to improve their leadership and management skills in a bid to improve on the 10% of females at board level in the country’s industry.

Nearly 50 members heard presentations on non-executive directorships (NEDs) at a meeting sponsored by Gard UK.

Fiona Harthorn of Women on Boards called for more transparency in the recruitment of women at the highest level but also challenged females to build more career resilience and to gain confidence, even if they had taken a career break.



Giving some practical advice, Paul Butterworth of head hunter Odgers said the covering letter was all important and he urged WISTA UK members to use their networks effectively.

Mairéad Ní Cheóinín, from Seafarers UK, who serves as a NED, regaled the audience with her experiences which she said were positive. She urged WISTA Uk members to be persistent as the first attempt may not be successful.

Paralympian Hannah Stodel

When life throws a curveball, take a different tack

Paralympian Hannah Stodel impresses WISTA members and HFW delegates with her impressive account of what it takes to be a world-class yacht racer

Four times Paralympian Hannah Stodel, who was born without her right forearm, gave a remarkable account of the journey she has taken to becoming a world champion sailor at a WISTA UK event in London. Stodel has won many medals for her yachting achievements, but at age 33 her journey is far from over and she is currently gearing up for her biggest challenge yet.

Delegates at the event hosted by law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) in London learned of her ambition to become the first disabled person to compete in the Vendée Globe in November 2020 – an around the world (24,000 miles) non-stop, solo yacht race. “126 people have competed over the years, and only seven are women,” Stodel said, adding that none of them have been disabled. “I want to be the first,” she added

Stodel, whose parents are both keen sailors, started sailing and racing from a young age and found that “it was a way to be like everyone else”.  She was bullied at school and given the nickname ‘Hook’ as her first prosthetic was just that, but through sailing her confidence grew.

Early in her career, Stodel competed in mainstream events, and it took a while for her to view the Paralympics as equal to the Olympics. She was won over by a fellow Paralympic sailor and has since represented the UK, along with team mates Steve Thomas and John Robertson in Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

She spoke of the endless training, funding and sponsorships, the embarrassing process of drugs testing (having surprise urine tests at 5 am), and missing out on normal life (Stodel has never been clubbing, for example). All take their toll, but she took a moment to emphasise the impact of having to gain weight in order to secure extra race time. It takes a bold woman to admit that they could not comfortably fit into the Team GB Stella McCartney-designed kit.

Unfortunately, the “Paralympics never worked out” for Stodel and her team, and they always came home without a medal.

But what makes Stodel’s story so remarkable is her belief in the journey as well as the outcome. She quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson: “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else,” and is the mantra on which she acts.

A disqualification in Rio (unfair said Stodel) and the fact that sailing is to be excluded in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020 on the basis that there are not enough teams to compete (32 are needed and only 31 applied) has led Stodel to seek other challenges.

When she first applied to take part in the Vendée Globe, her application was met with cynicism.  But she proved herself a worthy candidate when in 2018 she became the first disable sailor to take part in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race, coming fourth in her boat class.

Now the Vendée looms, and in 20 months she will “single-handedly, quite literally in my case,” take on the round the world race.

She was asked how she would handle the large 60 ft and she admits to its challenges, speaking of adaptations and modifications to the boat, such as winches operated by her feat, as opposed to hands. She also fears hitting underwater rocks and gear failure.

But despite these challenges, Stodel said that she remains focussed.  “This is me kicking the door in for everyone else to prove it can be done,” she said.

Follow Hannah’s journey here https://www.hannahstodelracing.com/#

Imperial Women’s Network – Innovation in Transport Event
Sue Imperial Women's Group Feb 2019

“Collaboration, capability and culture.” These are the conditions needed to achieve innovation according to John Pelton MBE, Programme Director, Jacobs Consultancy. Speaking at the Imperial Women’s Network Innovation in Transport event (6 Feb 2019), John was discussing the Innovate18, the legacy Crossrail Innovation programme.

John led an engaged audience of alumni, students and guests through several practical exercises in his interactive presentation. He discussed the conditions required for innovation to occur and the inhibitors. Outlining the unique Crossrail approach of innovation teams and champions, John explained how this allowed all individuals working on the project to become their own innovators, leading to a unique collaborative approach. The project provided the strategy and process for managing innovation in mega projects of the future.

Reflecting on the legacy left by Crossrail, John talked about the iP3 programme, a platform forging collaborations across the infrastructure industry ‘helping transform ideas in to opportunities’.

“The barriers to innovation include cost, time, disruption, lack of trust, risk or lack of sponsorship to name but a few. Take these inhibitors away and create an environment where collaboration is universal and innovative solutions and ideas will flourish.”

The audience, which included representatives from the construction, rail and shipping industries, then heard from He-In Cheong, a PhD student at Imperial College London working on integrating modelling platforms. He-In discussed the future of automated transport, which “by 2035+ will be fully machine-led and all humans will be passengers.”

“Currently 90% of all road traffic accidents are caused by human error therefore by removing the need for human control (and emotion) in the future infrastructure systems, transport will be safer and more efficient.” 

He-In and her colleagues at Imperial are looking at the smart cities of the future, designing systems that work with autonomous cars including vertical car parks, to meet the needs of an ever-increasing urban population. “The transport systems of the future will be smarter, more effective and better meet the needs of users. There will be less timetabling of public transport, which is currently very inflexible. The future systems will be reactive, and therefore more efficient.”

Our third guest speaker was Sue Terpilowski OBE, Managing Director, Image Line Communications and President of Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association UK Chapter. Sue began by outlining the ways that the maritime sector is already pushing the boundaries of innovation, for example, the introduction of container ships revolutionised the way that goods and maritime transport took place.

“These are exciting times for the shipping industry and there is lots of opportunities. Although autonomous ships will only account for about 30% of all shipping in the future, there will be many ways we can make ships semi-autonomous. And through great data collection and analysis we can make them more efficient and work better with the oceans’ ecosystems.”

Sue talked about some of the efficiency measures already in place, such as the use of drones to check quay-side maintenance in ports. She also discussed the innovative approach taken by port of Hanover, which rescheduled it shipping timetable to better meet the needs of the city. “Instead of working in silos, which so often happens in shipping – the city and port authorities looked at the overall movement of traffic round the city and port. Using smart technology and a systems thinking approach they identified ways to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the city.”

The future of shipping will include innovations around; the type of fuel big ships use; increased use of sensors to gather data on weather conditions and logistics to enable enhanced efficiencies; and a greater systems thinking approach, looking at the industry and its impact on ports and cities as a whole, not on isolation. And finally but most importantly Sue believes in addressing the gender parity of the industry.  “STEM is so integral to the future of shipping, that with more women studying these disciplines, the opportunity is greater than ever to address the need for 50/50 split workforce and ensure a gender balance.”

Our thanks to alumna Salma Suleyman (Mechanical Engineering MENg 2011), a rail systems engineering manager with Jacobs for organising this event.

The Imperial Women’s Network welcomes alumni from Imperial College London, and friends interested in advancing women’s leadership in business. They host several event thorough the year.

The future of British ports

Britain’s maritime sector has always evolved to keep pace with the latest technological innovations. Record-setting tea clippers like Cutty Sark were replaced as sail was superseded by steam-powered vessels, which could carry more cargo, further, faster than ever before and through all weathers. Today, in this digital age, we work in an era of satellite-guided ‘megaships’ such as the vast Milan Maersk, which can carry more than 20,500 shipping containers and visited ABP’s Port of Southampton for the first time last November. Accommodating these immense new vessels is just the latest adaptation that the ports sector has had to absorb, as advancing technology continues to present us with new challenges, but also new opportunities.

Read more

IMO hosts event under Women in Maritime programme to train female officials

IMO is continuing its ongoing efforts to ensure women can reach top ranks in the maritime sector, through its Women in Maritime programme.

IMO is continuing its ongoing efforts to ensure women can reach top ranks in the maritime sector, through its Women in Maritime programme. The latest event was a two-week training course for female officials from maritime and port authorities of developing countries, in Le Havre, France (11-22 June).

At the Institut Portuaire d’Enseignement et de Recherche (IPER), 23 female officials from 14 developing countries* had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of port management and operational efficiency. They also took part in lectures on a variety of port matters including management, security, marine environment, marketing, tariffs and logistics as well as facilitation of maritime traffic, ship/port interface and concession contracts.

Delivered in French, organized visits to the Port of Le Havre and the Port of Rouen, enabled participants to experience for themselves the day-to-day operations of a port, with a view to applying this knowledge back in their respective countries.

The event was delivered through IMO’s gender and capacity-building programme, in collaboration with the Le Havre Port Authority. It comes as part of IMO’s continuous efforts to support the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Demand for this course has continued to grow substantially over the past three years, however further funding will need to be secured to keep up with the increased demand.

Source: Devdiscourse

There are as many Female Cruise Ship Captains as Female Airline Captains!

Would it surprise you to learn that on % there are as many Cruise ship captains as Airline captains. My first reaction was that this could not be accurate but investigation showed that World Wide there are 9 women cruise ship captains on the 314 cruise ships ( just under 3%) and there are 4000 women airline captains of the 130,000 captains flying (just over 3%). The UK is in an enviable position in both fields as of the 9900 UK aviators – 570 are women (just over 6%) of the 9 sea-going captains -2 are from Britain (25%). So who are these 9 wonder women who have managed to break through the male barrier and become the new Masters of the 21st century. The first shipping line carrying passengers started in 1818 but it was not until the late 1960´s that the modern cruise industry came into itself. So it has only taken 189 years until the first woman became a Captain on a passenger ship. Being generous and staying within the modern era we can congratulate society for accepting a female Captain 45 years later.

Swedish born Capt.Karin Stahre-Jansen had this honour in 2007 and in the following 10 years UK Capt.Sarah Breton, Swiss Capt. Margrith Ettlin, Usa Capt.Kate McCue,

Danish Capt.Lis Lauritzen, Italian Capt.Serena Melani, Faroe Isles Capt. Inger Olsen, German Capt.Nicole Langosch and UK Capt. Belinda Bennett who also has the added accolade of being the first black female cruise captain in history, started the change.

Not forgetting their hard work and climb through the ranks to reach Staff Captain positions putting them in an ideal situation to become Captains, alot has to be said for the change of mentality in the higher echelons of the Cruise Industry Management. In some of the shipping companies, women have become Presidents and Owners, paving the way to opening doors for female Masters. Fortunately for us women, we are finding barriers being broken daily in all fields and the shipping business is no exception!

Linda Reyes
WISTA UK – Cruising.

#Cruising #WISTAUK #Womeninshipping

Women in Maritime

Women in Maritime Taskforce to map gender balance in UK shipping

At its inaugural meeting in London on 21 February, opened by recently appointed UK shipping minister Nusrat Ghani, taskforce chairperson Sue Terpilowski pledged that the group “would not be just a talking shop” and would give the government its initial recommendations within three months.

The taskforce will focus on how the UK maritime industry recruits women to the sector, the efforts it undertakes to retain them, and it will review remuneration, Terpilowski said.

“A lot of women enter the sector, but they just don’t stay. We need to find out why,” she added.

To assess how effective the taskforce is in its mission, the 30-strong group agreed that using a survey to map the gender balance of the UK maritime workforce – both onshore and at sea – is a necessary starting point for measuring the impact of change.

Nicola Good, executive editor Fairplay | 22 February 2018 Read the full article here


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