Saudi Arabia participated in the “Regional Conference for Arab Women in Maritime Sector” through a high-ranking delegation of Saudi women headed by Ms. Wijdan Al-Suhaibani, Manager of Branding and Communication at Bahri. The conference is the most prominent event organized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and was held at the headquarters of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt, from 15-19 October 2017.
The participation of Saudi women in the conference was a major step that reflects Saudi Arabia’s continued progress and sustained efforts toward achieving gender equality at workplaces and empowering women. It also showed that Saudi women have occupied leadership positions in the public and private sectors and they now represent, just like men, the proficient and trained national competencies that make active contributions to advancing the national economy and becoming a prominent presence within the sustainable development system according to the Saudi Vision 2030.
The event assessed and deliberated the representation of women in various areas and sectors including maritime and port administrations. In addition, the conference also saw the launch of the “Arab Women in Maritime Association” (AWiMA), a platform to bring together the women working in different sectors of the industry in the region and with a vision that aims at “an effective Arab woman who promotes a strong maritime sector”. The head of the Saudi delegation, Ms. Wijdan Al-Suhaibani, won the chairmanship of the newly formed Association, which emphasizes the efficiency and excellence of Saudi women and their ability to play important roles in leading specialized bodies and organizations at all levels - local, regional and international.
“It was an honor to be invited by IMO to represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at this prestigious conference. Our nation’s participation in these important events truly reflects the social transformation the country is going through and more so as we are representing the maritime industry, which has historically been male-dominated,” said Ms. Wijdan Al-Suhaibani, head of the Saudi delegation, President of the Arab Women in Maritime Association on this occasion.
The participation of the Saudi Arabian delegation at the Regional Conference for Arab Women in the Maritime Sector shed light on the practical steps taken by the Kingdom to achieve the ambitious Vision 2030, which envisages increasing the participation of women in the workforce from the present 22 percent to 30 percent.
The conference’s most important recommendations given to the IMO Arab member states included the provision of effective support to the establishment of Arab Women in Maritime Association and working on the provision of an appropriate mechanism to help overcome the challenges of implementing the Saudi Vision 2030 and aligning its objectives with the goals of sustainable development including working with the responsible authorities in member states to ensure adherence to the achievement of sustainable development objectives, especially those related to the maritime sector, and encouraging the participation of women at all levels of education, training and maritime research, in addition to promoting efforts to recruit women in this sector in accordance with the objectives of sustainable development.
AWiMA’s mission is to encourage and empower the Arab woman through improving her professional skills and highlighting her effective role in the maritime sector. Its objectives include enhancing national and regional recognition of the role of Arab women as resources for the maritime industry, strengthening cooperation networks among Arab women in the port and maritime sectors on the local, regional and international levels, building national and regional capacity through equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for the Arab woman, increasing employment opportunities for Arab women at the high management levels of the related sectors in maritime transport, developing partnerships and collaboration with national maritime administrations, regional entities, UN agencies and the private sector and strengthening the mechanisms for implementation of global partnerships of sustainable development particularly the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.