More women should seek employment in the maritime industry, says Dr Wee

KUALA LUMPUR: More Malaysian women should seek careers in the male-dominated maritime industry, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

"It is timely for Malaysian women to buckle up and embrace diverse and rewarding career prospects within the maritime sector.

"Women currently in the maritime industry should gracefully break the glass ceiling ... and stand together united to change the entrenched social and cultural bias against them," the Transport Minister said when launching the International Day for Women in Maritime 2022 on Wednesday (May 18).

He noted this was the first time that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had declared May 18 as the International Women in Maritime Day.

With this, he said women in maritime would now have a dedicated day as a platform to learn about and support each other.

"More importantly, to celebrate our hard-earned efforts to be part of the maritime world," he said in a recorded message at the inaugural event.

He said although women contribute in the maritime industry the percentage of women is relatively small.

"It is often a challenge for working women to advance to higher skills development due to family commitments," he added, acknowledging some of the challenges women face.

Maritime Department deputy director Dr Yasmin Mohd Hasni said there is still ample room for women in the industry.

"The ratio of women and men in the country is almost equal. Yet only 2% of those working in the maritime industry are women," she said.

Dr Yasmin added that the Straits of Malacca is one of the busiest waterways in the world, which generates many job opportunities.

"Just imagine, we live next to the sea which is a highway for more than 80,000 ships every year. There are employment opportunities that pay well," she added.

Meanwhile, Nurul Fakhira Zulfian, 22, said she is pursuing a nautical science degree with Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT).

"Both my parents are teachers... but I wanted to do something different," the eldest of four siblings from Bidor said when met at the event.

She said she had always been fascinated by science and developed a love for sea charts after taking up the degree.

Earlier, IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim lauded Malaysia's efforts to encourage more women to work in the industry.

He urged Malaysian women to take advantage of IMO Gender Network programmes through the Women in Maritime Association Malaysia.

In December 2021, Malaysia was re-elected to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Assembly for the ninth consecutive term as a council member under Category C for the 2022-2023 biennium.

Voting took place during IMO 32nd General Assembly at their headquarters in London.

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Women , Maritime , IMO , Straits of Malacca , Wee Ka Siong


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