IWD 2020: Considering workplace culture for gender equality in shipping

Iroghama Ogbeifun-Obuoforibo, Chief Operating Officer at Starzs Group


Entrenched workplace culture will possibly create gender balance, granting women more confidence of opportunities and growth.

Although several studies have proven that women participation in core maritime careers is as low as 2 per cent, some women in management positions are confident that little changes could begin to make some impact.

Agreed, women loved the 2019 IMO theme of “Empowering Women in The Maritime Industry” which encouraged maritime communities globally to engage in programmes including women and encouraging them to careers in the industry, the 2020 International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration theme of “Generation Equality” seems to balance the equation.

Iroghama Ogbeifun-Obuoforibo, Chief Operating Officer at Starzs Group, is confident that having a quota system at various job group levels could help achieve gender balance in shipping.

Considering more ways that more women can be encouraged for careers in the maritime industry, she said: “For example, in particular job groups, there must be 25% female participation. It will be a great way to get more women encouraged to participate in the industry.

“So from recruitment at entry level, the company is already conscious of the fact that certain number of women must occupy positions at various job groups. Therefore, HR will be tasked with plotting career paths for the high flying talent that is identified at entry level so that at each given point in time, that quota is filled with women who are competent for the job.”

Competence for any job type is very important, so, she understands that gender equality should not be marred with forcing companies to employ incompetent female workers for want of gender equality.

“There are more ways to achieve the gender parity, such as no disparity in pay, promotion opportunities, board appointments, training opportunities.”