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Over 100 women speakers have joined the IMO and WISTA International Speakers Bureau in the first month since the launch

13 December 2022. London, United Kingdom._ In less than a month, more than one hundred women leaders have registered as speakers on the new Maritime Speakers Bureau platform. The platform was launched by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International) in Geneva, and was created to encourage women in maritime to register as speakers for events where they can inspire, educate and engage with audiences throughout the maritime industries.

By creating the Speakers Bureau, the two organizations hope to end the tradition of all-male speaking panels. The speakers directory  provides a database of women who are experts in their field and are available to speak on a broad range of topics from decarbonisation, law and regulations through to AI, robotics, naval architecture and more. The IMO and WISTA International are committed to ensuring that sector conferences and events have a diversity of thought, and believe inclusive panels are the most efficient way to achieve this initiative. Furthermore, conference organisers are invited to sign the Conference Organisers’ Pledge* and commit to ensuring a variety of speakers at industry events.

Elpi Petraki, President of WISTA International and an active member of the shipping community said: “The IMO and WISTA International are committed to promoting and making the voices of women in the shipping industry heard. Increasing the number of women speaking at events will not only enhance the quality of discussions by providing a more diverse range of perspectives – which is essential when discussing how to address the challenges we face as an industry – but it will also highlight the leadership roles held by women, therefore creating more role models for the next generation. The excellent response we have received in the short time since the platform launched highlights the industry’s appetite to hear from a variety of people and the need to make the process of finding speakers easier. Another great advantage is that speakers and event organizers can register and use the platform for free.”

How the Maritime Speakers Bureau works

Once registered, speakers can be contacted by conference and event organizers via the Speakers Bureau website. Speakers are free to accept or decline invitations to speak and conference organizers can search the directory by sectors, subjects and countries.

The Maritime Speakers Bureau also invites users to sign one or more of its pledges for speakers, organizers and sponsors. By signing, they are committing to highlighting where there is a lack of diversity at events and to playing an active role in ensuring that going forward, maritime events are more diverse and inclusive.

Home page of the Maritime Speakers Bureau website

Elpi Petraki, President WISTA International

About WISTA International

The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International) – – was formed in 1974 as a global organization connecting female executives and decision-makers around the world.

WISTA International incorporates 56 countries National WISTA Association (NWA), representing more than 3,800 female professionals from all maritime industry sectors. NWAs provide in-country and regional networking, business and skill-building opportunities, corporate visibility, and also facilitate relationships within the industry.

WISTA works toward:

  • Minimizing the existing gender leadership gap in the maritime, trading and logistics sectors
  • Building a community among its members, facilitating the exchange of contacts, information, and experiences
  • Promoting the creation of business relationships among its members
  • Facilitating the professional development of its members
  • Providing liaison with other related institutions and organizations worldwide

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of IMO

About IMO

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) – – is the United Nations specialized agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. IMO’s work supports the UN SDGs.?

As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.

Shipping is a truly international industry, and it can only operate effectively if the regulations and standards are themselves agreed, adopted and implemented on an international basis. And IMO is the forum at which this process takes place. IMO gathers 175 Member States and 50 Conventions and Protocols.

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