The sixth annual edition of BBME promotes women in leadership through an increase in female involvement in the segment
Breakbulk Middle East, the GCC’s leading breakbulk and project cargo event, has continually played an active role in increasing the participation of women in key areas in the industry. Held under the patronage of The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the event will be hosted by DP World, UAE Region, the leading trade enabler, that will once again serve as the Host Port.
The two-day event will feature several women holding leadership roles in the industry. Through the Women in Breakbulk initiative, the event hopes to attract talented women from the industry, nurture aspiring women professionals and retain outstanding talent.
Since its inception, Breakbulk Middle East has been at the forefront of addressing topics that need to be highlighted. The role of women in the industry is definitely one of them. Reducing the disparity between male and female employees is essential for the development of the sector as the experience and expertise that women can provide will only help to enhance the industry further.
H.R.H. Princess Sarah Al Saud, Director of Maritime Business Development at the International Forum for Maritime Transport, Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandriaasserted, “The project cargo and breakbulk industry is predominantly male-dominated, however, with that said women are breaking the glass ceiling and gaining recognition. Empowered women help economies thrive, fueling growth and development around the world. To encourage inclusion in the industry events like Breakbulk Middle East are important to the business landscape. The event has a number of programmes that are a meeting point for women to share their career stories, and offer advice to one another.”
Al Saud adds, “Breakbulk Middle East has demonstrated great support to achieve gender equality within the industry. Their efforts are praiseworthy as they are not only empowering the current generation to continue striving for greatness, but they are also inspiring our future leaders.”
H.E. Eng. Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and President, AWIMA said, “Women have always contributed to all aspects of our industry. They have occupied different roles in a variety of segments. Today, diversity and inclusion are key drivers in the global maritime industry. Women play an active role in reshaping industry perceptions in logistics and maritime and they will continue to do so. Breakbulk Middle East is providing a great platform to facilitate discussions on how the industry can encourage young women to choose a career in the industry. Their commitment to support women across all business sectors and develop local talent in the Middle East has the power to create a better future for generations to come.”
Supporting women leaders
Over the years, the representation of women in leadership roles has drastically increased. According to Grant Thorton’s Women in Business 2020 report, in 2019, the proportion of women in senior management roles globally grew to 29 per cent. The report also stated that 87 per cent of global mid-market companies have at least one woman in a senior management role in 2020. The figures remained the same in 2020. However, this number significantly drops when it comes to the maritime sector. Women make up a mere 2 per cent of the world’s maritime workforce that includes 1.2 million seafarers. This number encompasses all aspects of shipping, ranging from seafarers and only a few top-level executives.
Jasmin Fichte, Managing Partner, Fichte & Co Legal and Founder of WISTA Arabia UAE, commented, “Over the years there has been a gradual shift and the industry has become more accepting of the fact that women are equally capable of industry successes. Women now have access to opportunities that they could never even think of before. Platforms like Breakbulk Middle East are integral because they inspire young women who aspire to join the global maritime workforce, motivating them to work towards consistently achieving new heights.”
Ben Blamire, Event Director of Breakbulk Middle East explained, “Bridging the gender gap in the industry is an ongoing challenge and we are not giving up on it yet. Year after year, at Breakbulk Middle East, we ensure that we highlight this issue, addressing the challenges women face. The 2021 edition will be no different and we will advocate this cause even more fiercely. Although the industry has now become more aware of the benefits that can be achieved when companies tackle the gender imbalance, we have to continue our efforts to spread awareness about roles in the industry that women can occupy, motivating women to take the plunge.”
Leslie Meredith, Marketing Director, Breakbulk Events & Media said, “This year has been challenging for everyone. To discuss these roadblocks, we will unite women from different sectors to share their perspectives on the skills that are important for continued success in the industry. These supremely talented women leaders will also share insights on how women can overcome the difficulties they faced along the way. They will also offer valuable insights and advice to women on a number of pressing concerns that are prevalent in the industry.”
The readiness of BBME to contribute to enhancing the status of women in the maritime sector is commendable. Their continued efforts are contributing to the progress of the breakbulk industry in the UAE, the MENA region and world over.