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Creating awareness on the indispensability of shipping worldwide

Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA)
President Ms. Sanjam Gupta Message for World Maritime Day 2016.

WISTA facilitates the exchange of contacts, information and experiences among its members; promotes and facilitates the education of its member and provides liaison with other related institutions and organizations worldwide. Our brand and activities, such as our annual conference, set high standards.

At the recent WISTA International Conference at Sri Lanka, a NOR SHIPPING (a Norway based shipping company ) made a presentation about “ Sustainable Shipping“- which spoke of bringing about a digital/ technological shift , gender diversity, environmental impact in the Maritime Industry of Norway. We, as WISTA India, wish to initiate this endeavour for the Indian Shipping Industry- along similar lines. These are the 3 key pillars of Sustainability that we intend to focus on ie -


India is a land of vast untapped potential. The growth prospects are huge, and sadly, she remains a nation that struggles to catch up with technology. India’s existing skills and resources combined with right technology and innovation is a powerful mix – and can lead to miracles and huge transformation.
We intend to launch this initiative at a maritime event wherein we will invite an Indian Delegation of shipping companies supporting the cause of technology advancement, gender diversity and environmental protection.
These companies will address the companies present on the importance of sustainability. This will kick start our campaign and urge companies to integrate either or all of these 3 aspects into their business.
If not, it will at least "provoke "thoughts in this direction!

2.We bring to you , the WISTA India Maritime Mentor- Mentee program 2016, through which we will endevour to do our part in supporting young women who are existing shippng professionals or who may be interested in making shipping a career.

• We believe that developing female talent for the future is important to drive innovation, diversity and competitive advantage for the maritime sector.
• This WISTA Mentorship Program was launched in 2014.

For 2016 , we will have some very accomplished Mentors who will support this Program.
The key framework for the program is as follows:

Categories of Mentees
1.Freshers to the Industry
2.Ladies working in the Maritime Industry and wanting to grow‎/rise to leadership positions
3.Ladies taking/taken a break for motherhood, wanting to return to their careers
4.Ladies who wish to become/ or are already entrepreneurs

(B) Structure
1.3-4 face to face meetings through the duration of the program (ie 6-12 months) Participants are encouraged to meet with their mentors for career guidance.
2.Weekly Skype / Facetime / Video Chat sessions : Mentors and Mentees interact to support a fruitful dialogue and exchange of knowledge and experiences.
The Mentees will be selected by the WISTA Executive Committee by way of evaluation based on above criteria.

(C) Reach : The program will be conducted across 4 major cities of India , each city will have 2 mentors . The mentor mentee ratio will be 1:1. WISTA Executive Committee will identify the mentees in each city ,based on above mentioned categories .

(D) Measurement Criteria for success of the Program : at the end of the Program, each mentor-mentee pair will be evaluated based on the quality of their interaction and other factors outlined by WISTA India.

3.Gender Diversity-cause of female seafarers 
As you may know, WISTA International is working very closely with various organizations in order to promote women seafarers and address issues regarding their health and wellbeing, both on board and ashore. These organizations are the International Chamber of Shipping (the bullying and harassment guide and the BIMCO manpower report); ISWAN (the survey on health and welfare of female seafarers); and Intermanager (the best practice guide for female seafarers).

We are working with these organizations because we are aware of the challenges female seafarers and cadets are facing and want to help/provide support in any way we can. Some examples of these challenges of which we are aware follow, which unfortunately are not uncommon even in today's society, despite the MLC 2006 implementation and educational efforts taken by governmental authorities:

1) In May 2016, WISTA Sri Lanka co-organized a shipping conference, which included a panel discussion on female seafarers. During the panel discussion, a senior Sri Lankan gentlemen from a prominent shipping company stated, to an audience of about 250 people about half of which were women, that he was not recruiting women because they were physically unable (implying they were not strong enough) to work on board tankers. He also indicated he believed females would not be willing to work long enough at sea, therefore his company did not want to invest in training and education of female seafarers. He was searching for support in the audience, but thankfully found none, at least that spoke up.

2) During the GEM (Gender, Empowerment and Multicultural Crews) project meeting (see further below) in London, we were informed by the project leader that at maritime universities in China, female students have to pay more to follow the same courses as their male colleagues, plus the females are discouraged from doing sea time on board of vessels, which is required to finish their studies.

3) In India, many gentlemen do not recognize the issues females are facing while studying at a maritime school or when on board, largely, we believe, due to their cultural mind set. It seems when Indian females are on board a vessel with crew of multiple nationalities, there are generally few issues, unlike when there is a full Indian crew, whereby the harassment and bullying is more prevalent.

On the positive side, we are working, at the request of the Director General of Shipping in India, on implementing a Gender Diversity course. The project is supported by Anglo Eastern Ship Management, one of the major ship managers globally. The idea is to develop/implement the course in the following phases:

1. A seminar to be organized by GlobalMET, in conjunction with WISTA, which would have a session on Gender Diversity. This is planned to occur in November 2016 or February 2017. 
2. A booklet on gender sensitization to help male seafarers be sensitized to the needs of female seafarers and how to work together harmoniously.

3. A 3-hour module on gender sensitization titled “Working with Women Seafarers,” to be inserted in one or two of the existing STCW courses.
In addition, as noted above, WISTA is working on the GEM project, which aims to examine seafarers’ welfare, while focusing on gender issues arising from multicultural crews and isolation. The research and data findings will facilitate the development of appropriate tools to help support women within the maritime industry globally. The first survey was done amongst cadets from the UK, Nigeria, and China. We are working together with ISWAN, ICS, and Intermanager on this project and offered to assist them in expanding their current database beyond the original three countries.

WISTA (Womens International Shipping & Trading Association) was formed 42 years ago in the U.K. and now represented in 35 countries. WISTA is an international organization for women in management positions involved in maritime transportation business and related trades worldwide. It is a major player in attracting more women to the industry and in supporting women in management positions.

WISTA facilitates the exchange of contacts, information and experiences among its members; promotes and facilitates the education of its member and provides liaison with other related institutions and organizations worldwide.
WISTA is acknowledged as a professional and highly reputable shipping organization with focus on improving levels of competency in the shipping industry and works towards attracting highly qualified people to the industry and improving level of competency through focus on education and knowledge. Our members are well educated women at management level
Our brand and activities, such as our annual conference, set high standards.

WISTA India was launched on 7th December 2012 already has 100+ members all over India(2016). The aim and objective of WISTA is to mentor, educate and encourage networking among our members.

The events give our Members an opportunity not only to meet and interact with other women in the Shipping & Logistics Industry, it’s a great networking platform as well. We have a variety of professionals in WISTA ranging from Lawyers to Media Professional Forwarders, Ship owners, and even a Luxury Yacht Broker!

Members benefits

• International network
• Business relationships
• Improving members competence
• Sharing knowledge
• Mentoring
• Friendship
• Encourage cooperation among neighbouring countries
• We can and should learn from each other – Be open minded
• Network with each other - visit WISTA business friends when possible

In India we have sub chapters in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Mundra and Cochin.

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