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Frauen in der Schifffahrt, im Handel und in der Logistik sichtbarer zu machen und zu fördern sind nur zwei der Aufgaben, die sich die Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA ) auf ihre Fahnen geschrieben hat. Bei diesem Vorhaben genießt die internationale Netzwerkorganisation breite Unterstützung, wie der Senatsempfang zum „2. International Day for Women in Maritime” am 31. Mai im Hamburger Rathaus gezeigt hat.

Credits: iStock/ marzacz, WISTA Germany, privat
The Senator for Economic Affairs and Innovation, Dr Melanie Leonhard, welcomed around 200 guests in Hamburg with the message: “We cannot afford to forgo our female workers in the shortage of skilled workers that we are faced with today.” A message that Judith Musau, press officer at WISTA Germany, can fully get behind. “Events like this are important in raising public awareness of the goals of our organisation – diversity, inclusion and the advancement of women’s rights,” explained Musau. Although the visibility of women in leadership positions has increased in recent years, as it stands, only two per cent of sailors worldwide are female.

In light of this, WISTA has been operating successfully since 1974 on international soil and across all oceans, with the aim to offer its members the opportunity to network and train. “We are proud that WISTA Germany is continuing to grow with more than 180 members and that we are one of 55 countries in the WISTA International network. In 2022, we reached the 4,000-member mark worldwide,” remarked Franziska Eckhoff, President of WISTA Germany.

Since the founding of WISTA, the shipping industry has undergone major changes, including globalisation, the implementation of new technologies and the introduction of strict environmental standards and sustainability initiatives. And WISTA has grown with the industry. The organisation plays a key role in raising awareness about equal opportunities and career prospects for women in the maritime sector.

The new board of WISTA Germany (L-R) Angela Raabe (event manager), Franziska Eckhoff (president), Irina Carbunaru (vice president), Nadine Kornblum (contact person), Sieke Kremer-Tiedchen (compliance manager) and Marina Röhl (treasurer and head of the diversity project group). Judith Musau (not pictured) appears in the bottom corner.

Ending the tradition of all-male speaking panels

Musau feels that the history of the organisation is shaped, in particular, by four cornerstones. Since 2017, these have included scholarships, which are awarded in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) to individuals nominated by WISTA International, as well as the annual WISTA International conferences, which connect members worldwide. WISTA also offers mentoring programmes, run independently and in cooperation with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to promote young women in their careers – giving them the opportunity to be coached by professionally experienced women. Last but not least, WISTA has had consultative status with the IMO since 2018. This allows the organisation to contribute the expertise of its female members to various IMO initiatives, such as the development of a speaker bank for women in the maritime industry. It is called the “IMO WISTA Maritime Speakers Bureau” and is intended to end the tradition of all-male speaking panels in the industry.

The WISTA Annual General Meeting in June set the course for the future. In total, WISTA Germany has over 180 members.

Recognising gender diversity as a strength

With these kinds of services behind the organisation, Musau sends a clear message: “There needs to be more women in leadership positions, and a cultural shift is required in order to create a more inclusive and diverse working environment.” To ensure this theory becomes reality, it is necessary, amongst other things, to improve the prospects for women in the industry and create more opportunities for their education and training. Marina Röhl, treasurer at WISTA Germany, is confident: “Women are strong collaborators, they have effective communication skills and emotional intelligence. What’s more, they are highly skilled organisers and bring a different approach.” The way she sees it, this unique mix of competences enables women to promote diversity and integration in the workplace. “It is therefore important for the future of international shipping to recognise gender diversity as a strength and to benefit from the synergy of experience and competences that arises when both genders join forces,” said Röhl, outlining her perspective – one which many of her colleagues at WISTA share. (bre)





WISTA Germany held its Annual General Meeting in June at the Digital Logistics Hub in Hamburg. Besides various project groups presenting their work from the past year and plans for the coming year, the members elected a new vice president to the Board, Irina Carbunaru. She succeeded Captain Nicole Langosch, who held the position for the last four years. Two board members, Judith Musau and Sieke Kremer-Tiedchen, were also re-elected as press spokesperson and compliance manager, respectively.

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