Speech: Launch of Women in Maritime Charter

Remarks by Julie Lithgow, Chair of the Women in Maritime Taskforce Charter subgroup, at the launch of the Women in Maritime Charter in London, 10 September 2018.

Ladies and gentleman, it’s a real pleasure to be here tonight to launch our Women in Maritime Charter.

Thank you for joining us for what is, I’m pleased to say, not your usual type of maritime event.

The instigator for this work, the captain of this adventure, Sue Terpilowski isn’t here tonight, and the chief of our engine room, Alison Lockyer from the Department for Transport is too modest to believe how much we rely on her. However, without these two incredibly generous, smart and hardworking people – we’d have nothing to celebrate tonight. Thank you too to the Maritime Minister for her unwavering support in this mission, and to ABP for sponsoring tonight’s event.

At every step of this journey, as we have been met with ever greater enthusiasm, with increasing numbers of people being prepared to listen, share honest realities with us and think about pragmatic action, each small success has simply made us more ambitious. In a few short months we have a pledge, an action plan, toolkits to support businesses of all sizes, and pragmatic, cooperative charter that suddenly propels maritime to the very forefront of how business can be supported to support and celebrate not just gender diversity, but the modern workforce.

What started as an initiative to drive up numbers of women in our sector became an moment of introspection about what we can do to make our working environments, culture and wider industry more open to diversity, more celebratory of inclusion, a place for all out different talents, men and women, can shine a little brighter.

This has been a truly collaborative process. We’ve learned from other sectors and consulted industry on our proposals. The Charter we launch tonight is built on the wisdom of those who’ve resolved to make progress before us, and strikes the right balance between challenge and support.

Crucially, colleagues, we’ve embarked on this journey with a spirit of cooperation and unprecedented willingness to work together. That is not just healthy for this endeavour, but for the future too.

We lay out our case to you tonight - that joining this charter will help you as organisation find ways to make your places of work inclusive for everyone, your decision making more open to diverse thinking, and our industry a place we are even prouder of.

So, join up as a charter as a pilot company, or chose a part of the toolkit you can help us develop, or share your challenge with us, or help sponsor a piece of research, or – just as helpfully – come and challenge our ideas and assumptions, that helps too!… whatever size organisation you are, you will have something to offer us, and we’d be delighted to have you on board.

Get in touch. All the details you need are in the booklet distributed tonight.

Together, we’ll get this right, thank you.