Liberian Maritime Authority Boss Vows to Increase Women in Maritime Workforce

MONROVIA – Liberia’s maritime sector is set for a shakeup as the Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA), Cllr. Neto Lighe, has pledged to significantly increase the number of women working in the industry.

Currently, women make up a mere 1.3% of the global maritime workforce, a statistic Commissioner Lighe finds unacceptable. He announced his commitment to changing this narrative during the International Day for Women in Maritime celebrations held in Monrovia on May 15th, 2024.

Cllr. Neto Zarzar Lighe, Sr., Commissioner of Maritime along with female staff of the LiMA

The theme for this year’s celebration, “Safe Horizons: Women Shaping The Future of Maritime Safety,” resonated deeply with Commissioner Lighe. He acknowledged the challenges women face in the industry, including limited opportunities, a lack of mentorship programs, and a resistant industry culture.

LiMA, under Commissioner Lighe’s leadership, is dedicated to fostering a more equitable future for women in maritime careers. They plan to achieve this through targeted initiatives, including:

  • Increased Investment in Education and Training: LiMA will invest in programs that empower women to pursue maritime professions.
  • Boosting Female Enrollment at Liberia Maritime Training Institute (LMTI): The institute will take deliberate steps to attract and support more female students.
  • Mentorship Programs: LiMA recognizes the importance of mentorship and will create programs pairing aspiring young women with experienced maritime professionals.
  • Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: Efforts will be made to ensure a more inclusive workplace culture that welcomes women in all maritime roles.

Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Robert Wilmot Kpadeh, echoed Commissioner Lighe’s sentiments. He called the current gender gap in the maritime industry “egregious” and unacceptable. He urged all stakeholders to take deliberate action to address this imbalance.

The International Day for Women in Maritime celebrations in Monrovia included a vibrant march, a panel discussion featuring industry leaders, and special remarks from government officials. The event brought together stakeholders from various maritime sectors, signaling a collective commitment to increasing women’s participation in Liberia’s maritime future.

International Day for Women in Maritime was established in 2021 to celebrate women in the industry and is intended to promote the recruitment, retention, and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector, raise the profile of women in maritime, strengthen IMO’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) and support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime. It is celebrated annually on 18 May.

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