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International Day for Women in Maritime 2024- May 18

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The International Day for Women in Maritime (IDWIM) is annually observed across the globe on 18 May to celebrate and honour the contributions of women in the maritime industry and promote women’s recruitment, retention, and sustained employment in the sector.

  • The annual event of IDWIM is initiated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of the United Nations (UN).
  • The 2024 theme of IDWIM is, “Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety.”

Note: The 2024 theme focussed on the crucial role of women in ensuring maritime safety worldwide, while highlighting the changing attitudes towards gender in the industry.

Purpose of the Day:

i.To highlight women’s participation in the maritime sector and emphasise the efforts to include more women.

ii.By raising the profile of women in maritime, IMO is strengthening its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 (gender equality).

  • It also addresses gender imbalances in the maritime workforce.

Current global Statistics of Women in the Maritime Sector:

  • Women constitute only 29% of the overall maritime workforce.
  • Only 20% of the national maritime authorities’ workforce are women.
  • Less than 2% of seafarers worldwide are women.


i.In 2021, the IMO Assembly at its 32nd session, adopted the resolution (A.1170(32)),  proclaiming 18 May every year as the International Day for Women in Maritime.

ii.The 1st ever International Day for Women in Maritime was observed on 18 May 2022.

2024 Events:


On 17 May 2024, a symposium took place under the theme “Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety” in London, United Kingdom (UK), within the margins of the Maritime Safety Committee’s 108th session.

2024 IMO Gender Equality Award:

i.Arsenio Dominguez Velasco, the Secretary-General of IMO, presented the inaugural IMO Gender Equality Award 2024 to Ms. Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou (Cyprus), former President of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA International).

  • She became the first-ever recipient of the IMO Gender Equality Award.

ii.She has been recognised for her pivotal and leading role in advancing gender equality and empowering women throughout her tenure as President of WISTA International.

About the Award:

i.The IMO Council, at its 128th session in 2022, approved the establishment of the IMO Gender Equality Award.

ii.This award offers international recognition to individuals, regardless of gender, who have significantly contributed to advancing gender equality and empowering women in the maritime sector.

iii.Eligibility: Open to individuals in their personal capacity or as institutional representatives.

iv.Form of the Award:

The Award will take the form of a medal, accompanied by a certificate citing the contribution of the winner to improving gender equality in the maritime sector.

Events in India:

i.The Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways (MoPSW) celebrated the International Day for Women in Maritime, on 18 May 2024 in New Delhi, Delhi, honouring the vital contributions of women seafarers.

ii.During the celebration, 27 women seafarers from various marine institutes and professionals from the maritime field were recognized for their dedication and significant contributions.

Growth in Women Seafarers in India:

i.Over the past 9 years, the number of seafarers has increased from 117,090 in 2014 to 280,000 in 2023.

ii.Women Seafarers: The Directorate General of Shipping had approximately registered 1,699 women seafarers in 2014 which has now increased to 10,440 in 2023 reflecting an increase of 514% in the registered women Indian Seafarers.

iii.Current Statistics: Total registered women seafarers as of May 2024: 13,371; active women seafarers as of December 2023: 4,770.

About International Maritime Organization (IMO):
Secretary-General- Arsenio Dominguez Velasco (Panama)
Headquarters– London, UK
The IMO Convention entered into force in 1958. The original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO.