According to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), women make up only an estimated 2% of the world’s maritime workforce. Despite continuous efforts from the shipping industry and international organisations, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to reduce gender gaps, improve working conditions at sea and promote safety awareness, being a seafarer is still considered a challenging career for a woman.
In line with SDGs 1, 5 and 10, MSC strongly promotes access to employment opportunities for female candidates, both shipboard and ashore and encourages women’s integration into maritime activities.
We are fully aware that increasing the female quota in our recruitment procedures and creating KPIs based merely on quantitative indicators on gender diversity do not necessarily contribute to effectively reducing gender disparities and advancing women’s empowerment.
We therefore strive to mainstream gender inclusive practices into our business models by providing maritime training and related vocational training to our female employees, at all levels. We also support women’s participation in decision-making processes by offering equal career paths in accordance with the principles of equal opportunity, fair treatment and non-discrimination, in line with our Code of Business Conduct.
To improve current practices on women’s empowerment we encourage continuous dialogue with our employees, and in particular with our female employees, to better understand their concerns and improve their working conditions. In this respect, in 2017 we carried out a human rights assessment in collaboration with the Global Human Resources Department and local Human Resources Officers based in MSC agencies.
Based on the assessment’s preliminary findings we will remain strongly focused on: a) respecting cultural diversity as part of our inclusive approach to promoting communities’ involvement; b) providing training opportunities in soft and technical skills, especially for female employees; and c) ensuring health-related support in order to help employees increase their productivity, thus reducing absenteeism rates as well as promoting women’s empowerment.
MSC is committed to reducing barriers to women’s entrepreneurship by also providing supportive workplace environments, appropriate facilities, strong management support and relevant policies in order for women to feel adequately supported and encouraged, especially when returning to work after maternity. In this respect, our local office in the Dominican Republic opened a dedicated breastfeeding room, in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, creating a work environment that supports new mothers and enhances their quality of life. In Gabon, we focus on promoting healthy nutrition practices and improving stress management. Further to our employees’ request, we decided to offer the possibility to participate in sports activities with a professional trainer free of charge after working hours. We also support local awareness-raising campaigns on women’s health, such as the annual marathon supporting women’s cancer research.
To find out more, see pages 62-63 in the MSC 2017 Sustainability Report