The maritime world is changing and is becoming an industry for everyone, both men and women. However, women only represent two per cent of the world’s 1.25 million maritime workforce.
A Labour Force Survey conducted by the Department of Economic Planning and Development, Ministry of Finance and Economy, in 2018, found that the percentage of women employed as professionals surpassed their male counterparts by 10.8 per cent.
More women in Brunei are employed in the human, health and social works, education, finance and insurance, information and communication, and in accommodation and food services sectors.
This was revealed by the Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof in his message on the occasion of World Maritime Day 2019.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam (MPABD) forecasts around 500 jobs can be created through the establishment of secondary port (aggregates), marina, vessel Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO), non-conventional port and maritime specialist services as well as through its spin-off businesses.
Out of these numbers, 50 per cent is forecast as potential work opportunity for women.
This year, the World Maritime Day, themed ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’, raises awareness on the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It highlights the important contribution of women in the maritime sector.
In the words of the theme, the International Maritime Organisation does indeed play a ‘central role’ to uphold its long-standing goals to increase the participation of women in the maritime industry.
It has been facilitating change by developing a programme for the integration of women in the maritime sector since 1988. Brunei Darussalam is encouraged by their work and together with various maritime stakeholders, the organisation also helps create an environment to promote maritime career development opportunities for women.
This is further bolstered by the significant progress made by the World Maritime University, founded by the International Maritime Organisation, towards promoting the advancement of women in the maritime sector.
By 2018, a total of 1,029 females had graduated from the World Maritime University, out of 4,919 graduates.
Given that 90 per cent of world trade is transported by sea, seafaring is seen as a vital organ of the maritime industry.
Without pulses, the vital organ will not function. Women can therefore become these ‘pulses’ by assuming careers that grow this dynamic industry.
This is especially true and made even more possible today with the advent of the Industrial Revolution 4.0.
The immense work by the International Maritime Organisation on e-Navigation is an example where technology is recognised as a solution for sustainable, safe, efficient and secure shipping. In addition to that, Electronic Nautical Charts (ENC), Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) have long replaced nautical charts and nautical publications.
The revolution of the maritime industry in the era of new technology, such as autonomous navigation, smart commerce and cyber security to name an important few, opens the door to more female participation.
Brunei, through the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) and MPABD, continues to support the work of the International Maritime Organisation and work closely with other fellow member states towards the overall achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.