MOEI launches new initiative to empower women across all fields

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Hessa Al Malek with Kitack Lim at International Maritime Organisation HQ in London.


As part of the efforts to empower women within the strategic plan of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and to mark the International Day for Women in Maritime, the UAE Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure (MOEI) has launched the ‘She of Caliber’ initiative, which aims to empower women across all fields, particularly in the maritime sector.

The initiative also aims to prepare and qualify women who are experts and capable of making a difference in the industry. This will help promote the growth of the maritime sector in the UAE, building on its leading global position.

The initiative came in recognition of the vital role women play in the marine industry.

The UAE attaches a great priority to empowering women within the maritime workforce by nurturing young female talents and providing them with the necessary tools for excellence. This contributes to strengthening the sector by providing it with future female leaders.

Eng. Hassan Mohamed Juma Al-Mansoori, Undersecretary for the Infrastructure and Transport Sector at the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure said, “The need to advance the role of women in maritime has become a topic of unprecedented importance and receives great attention at all levels.

The UAE is among the founders of the IMOGENder, a network for IMO delegates seeking to achieve gender equality.

The UAE also contributed to drafting several IMO resolutions to enhance women empowerment and gender equality, as well as to promote women’s participation in the maritime sector. This supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5, which focuses on gender equality. Additionally, the UAE currently holds the presidency of the Arab Women in Maritime Association (AWIMA), in cooperation with the IMO Technical Cooperation Programme.”

The key pillars of the initiative include access to maritime education for girls and women, providing training to build professional capabilities, and identifying and removing physical and social obstacles through effective cooperation between the government and private sectors. The main aim is to reinforce the idea of ‘leading by example’, aiming to maximise the impact of qualified ‘Women of Caliber’ in the industry, while also inspiring the younger generation.

Eng. Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport, Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “Similar to any other industry, we need both male and female skilled professionals in the maritime sector. Our primary goal must be to employ qualified talents to ensure the sector’s growth.

That’s why, we need to change all preconceived notions about the sector and discover diverse and capable young people who can keep pace with ongoing developments.

Today, maritime academies and institutions focus on providing the workforce with qualified female professionals by giving them support and guidance and providing the appropriate tools and resources. This, in turn, injects the maritime industry with new blood through distinguished female leaders.”

Hessa Al Malek discusses the new initiative with Kitack Lim, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Kitack Lim is the current Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Kitack Lim is the eighth elected Secretary General of the International Maritime organisation

Earlier as part of the ‘Supporting our Blue Army’ initiative, the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure honoured Andy Bowerman, Regional Director for Middle East & South Asia, Mission to Seafarers.

This was in recognition of his efforts and achievements in supporting seafarers and following up on their needs during his tenure in the UAE, which is nearing completion.

Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, commended the efforts of Mission to Seafarers, a not-for-profit organisation that offers emergency assistance and practical support to ship crews.

She praised Bowerman for his efforts in terms of caring for seafarers and providing support to them, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Al Malek said, “Taking care of our seafarers working onboard ships is one of the primary responsibilities of the maritime transport industry.

The UAE has always been one of the pioneering countries in ensuring the welfare of the seafarers’ community. The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has launched many initiatives that support seafarers, including the ‘Supporting our Blue Army’ initiative, which aims to improve the quality of our seafarers’ lives while they are within the premises of the UAE. The initiative protects seafarers’ rights with ship owners and operating companies, as well as helps seafarers overcome their challenges.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UAE has taken a step forward by classifying seafarers as ‘priority workers’ as they have been on the front line since the onset of the pandemic, providing critical services despite challenging circumstances.”

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