Support for women in Georgia’s maritime sector is growing

Date: Friday, August 6, 2021

Six young women were trained for employment on cruise ships as was agreed according to the Memorandum of Understanding between UN Women and the Maritime Transport Agency, 2019. Photo: Maritime Transport Agency
Six young women were trained for employment on cruise ships as was agreed according to the Memorandum of Understanding between UN Women and the Maritime Transport Agency, 2019. Photo: Maritime Transport Agency

Achieving gender equality in the maritime industry remains a global challenge. This field is dominated by men all over the world. According to the International Transport Workers’ Federation, women make up only 2 per cent of the sector’s workforce.

The negative global trend is also typical for Georgia: of the 12,800 sailors in the country, only two are women. In order to promote gender equality and encourage women in the maritime industry, UN Women has been cooperating with the Maritime Transport Agency of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia since 2018, on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding. One of the important directions of this cooperation is the introduction of the principles of gender equality and women’s empowerment to the agency.

With the support of UN Women, the Maritime Transport Agency has implemented a number of initiatives within the agency. A gender audit was conducted and recommendations were incorporated into a related action plan. Agency staff also received training on gender equality and developed a mechanism for filing sexual harassment complaints, which is still being implemented.

“The agency has cooperated fruitfully with UN Women, which has laid the foundation for many good innovations,” noted Tamar Ioseliani, Director of the Maritime Transport Agency. “It is especially noteworthy that the Maritime Transport Strategy Document officially supports the involvement and empowerment of women in the maritime sector.”

It should be noted that within the framework of the memorandum, six young women were trained for employment on cruise ships. In order to increase access to relevant education, the agency has also started cooperating with maritime schools. It is planned to allocate quotas for female students at the Batumi State Maritime Academy, particularly at its faculties of navigation and engineering, as well as to finance tuition fees and establish other scholarships.

In general, supporting women’s participation is one of the priorities of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Georgia is also constantly involved in the global advocacy process, and the Maritime Transport Agency regularly participates in international campaigns to strengthen the role of women in the maritime sector through various activities aimed at achieving gender equality. It should be noted that the Georgian delegation actively participated in the development of the IMO Gender Equality Network document.

The cooperation between UN Women and the Maritime Transport Agency was implemented within the framework of the project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia”, funded by the Government of Norway.