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Jaeda Sutherland, Project Officer at the Belize Port Authority

Creating the ocean we want - women in maritime talk about their role in shaping the future of the industry

Women who work in maritime are urging more people to look at how they can make a difference in the sector as part of the ongoing work to shape its future.

In 2021, women accounted for less than 2% of the global seafaring workforce, according to the BIMCO/ICS Seafarer Workforce Report. But by 2050 this could grow to 25%, according to the Global Maritime Trends 2050 Report, commissioned by Lloyd’s Register and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, potentially making women a significant force in shaping the future of maritime. On the International Day for Women in Maritime, Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the UN Climate Change High Level Champions have been hearing from women who are already working to make a difference in maritime across different roles to drive towards a just net zero and resilient future for the maritime sector. 

Jaeda Sutherland is currently serving as a Project Officer at the Belize Port Authority and her inspiration to work in the maritime industry stems from her upbringing in Belize.

Jaeda comments: “The sea is not just a geographical feature but a vital aspect of our national identity. I am and will be eternally grateful to the Belize Port Authority for opening a door of endless knowledge and opportunities for myself and my colleagues. The Authority has ultimately become the cornerstone of my maritime journey.”

Jaeda has been inspired by a number of women in maritime. While she admits the list is very long, she mentions Darlin Gaitin, second female Ports Commissioner of Belize Port Authority, Felicia Cruz, Director of Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, Annette Garel, Deputy Registrar of International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, Arlene Young, Director of Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute and Estella Bailey-Leslie, Comptroller of Belize Customs and Excise Department.

She adds: “All of these women embody resilience, break barriers and are paving the way for gender diversity in the maritime industry in Belize. Women like them are leading the charge in championing sustainability, advocating for eco-friendly practices, and fostering inclusivity.  These women are pioneers in promoting gender diversity within traditionally male-dominated sectors; through their efforts, they are fostering an environment of empowerment.”

Aideé Saucedo Dávila is a Technical Officer at the UN International Maritime Organisation.

Aidee’s journey into maritime was inspired by the work she found herself involved with at the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee and Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG) meetings. She soon discovered the highly technical character of the negotiations and understood the importance of adopting global regulation to mitigate the more than one billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually by ships trading internationally.

Aidee also has a number of women in maritime who have inspired her. They include Evelia Rivera-Arriaga (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Lead Author), Heike Deggim (International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Division Director) and Katharine Palmer (Maritime Lead, Climate Champions TeamUK Climate Change High-Level Champion).

Aidee comments: “These women are just a few, there are many more and they come from all parts of academia, public and private sector, and civil society. Their work to protect the marine environment is helping to shape the adoption of global regulations to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping such as the 2023 IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, adopted in July 2023 during MEPC 80.”

Jaeda Sutherland agrees: “Women play a crucial role in shaping the future of maritime safety measures. The contributions of women are becoming increasingly recognised and valued across various roles, as they make efforts toward the shaping of the future of shipping, whether as captains or cadets, electricians or engineers. “

Both Jaeda and Aideé share a passion for encouraging others to be inspired by maritime in the way they have been.

Aideé said: “When we understand our relationship with the planet, we can understand the generosity of the marine environment and learn to protect it. We need to work together to ensure we have cleaner oceans and start to decarbonise - before impacts on human and natural systems become greater.”

And for Jaeda, the advice is about embracing the opportunity with confidence and courage. She said: “The maritime industry can offer a rewarding career path of endless possibilities for growth. Don’t let stereotypes deter you. Surround yourself with mentors, allies, and supportive networks such as the Women in Maritime Association, Caribbean that will empower you to succeed and thrive. Remember, you matter. The maritime world awaits you, and together, we can chart a course towards a safe horizon, shaping the future of maritime safety.”

Olivia Swift, Senior Programme Manager at Lloyd’s Register Foundation comments: “The work of Lloyd's Register Foundation together with other partners across the world shows the vital importance of supporting diversity and bringing about a just transition.

 “With the potential for a quarter of our seafaring workforce to be made up of women by 2050, it’s important that we continue to bring Governments, regulators and the private sector to work together to remove any barriers of entry into the maritime system. The Foundation is already working in this space with collaborative projects such as Sea Shepherd Global which is working to help women around the African continent to overcome barriers to getting the sea time they need to qualify.”

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