IMO Member States declare support for “full and equal rights” for women

To mark International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March each year, Member States and observer delegations at an IMO sub-committee meeting this week have highlighted the importance of the Day and the continuing struggle for women’s rights and gender equality.

In a powerful statement, they point out that women are often exposed to violence, hardship and discrimination in all spheres, everywhere, and women and girls are the first to be affected by poverty, conflict and climate change.  The statement adds “This special day reminds us of the ongoing need to ensure that men and women enjoy full and equal rights and participation in their economies, politics, employment, communities and families.” The 2020 theme for International Women’s Day is “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights“.

The statement commends IMO for the many positive efforts it has made in working for gender equality in a traditionally male-dominated arena, including its Women in Maritime Programme and its related regional women’s associations.  It also points to the success of IMO’s 2019 World Maritime Theme – “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community” – and the need to ensure that this theme continues to resonate into the future.

This year’s World Maritime theme highlights the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, as the statement points out, SDG 5 (on gender equality) is a crosscutting theme that underpins all the SDGs.

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim welcomed the statement and confirmed that gender equality remains high on IMO’s agenda.  The statement was delivered by the delegation of France, on behalf of other member states and organisations.