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First Arab Women in Maritime – Biofouling Management Workshop

Women represent only 1.28 % of global seafarer workforce. To help reduce existing disparities in the shipping sector by increasing women representation to 50% in biofouling management related activities, GloFouling Partnerships project supports developing countries to achieve SDG 5 - "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls". To raise awareness about the key aspects of the project – invasive aquatic species, and to help close this gender gap the Project organized first ever Arab Women in Maritime – Biofouling Management Workshop, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 10-11 May 2023 in Jeddah.

The event brought together over thirty participants representing twelve Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries. The workshop was opened by Prof. Omaimah Bamasag, Deputy of Transportation Enablement, Transport General Authority, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Prof. Bamasag emphasized how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was proud to host the Arab Women in Maritime – Biofouling Management Workshop, particularly in the city of Jeddah, which for centuries has been an important port and trading city in the area. The Jeddah Islamic Port is one of the busiest and most modern ports in the region. It is a gateway for trade, receiving 75% of the nation’s total inbound maritime trade and transshipments.

The Workshop focused on challenges and opportunities in the Middle East region and brought to light how it is important for ports, regulators and other relevant stakeholders to come together to develop initiatives to deal with marine biofouling related issues. The workshop also highlighted the role that women in various capacities can play to help promote healthy oceans.

A site visit to Jeddah Islamic Port and DP World port took place on the second day of the workshop. The participants had the opportunity to see the port operations and meet women employees of the port to hear first hand on their experience. Although both ports had a number of women working, it was only a small percentage of the work force, which highlighted the need for knowledge sharing and promotion of women applying for these roles, which is most welcome by the ports.

For more information about the workshop see the report of the workshop here.



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