Today, on the second anniversary of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) International Day for Women in Maritime, this year's theme is "Mobilising networks for gender equality".  

As part of its ongoing #WomenInSAR campaign, the IMRF has held two #WomenInSAR training events in Africa so far in 2023 in collaboration with the IMO. These events were established to help the SAR community take steps towards greater inclusivity and understand the necessity and benefits of diversity in maritime, including how to make the maritime SAR sector a better place for women to volunteer or work.

The first inter-regional two-day #WomenInSAR training event was held in February in Rabat, Morocco, and was aimed at women across the north western and western African regions. The second training event was held in April in Mombasa, Kenya, and was aimed at women from the southern and eastern African regions. In total, 30 women from 24 countries across Africa attended these seminars.

Both two-day events allowed delegates to share experiences, form peer support groups and take part in team-building exercises. Furthermore, delegates learned from and experienced how other countries and SAR organisations are increasing the representation of women. Empowered with information, they could return to their organisations to implement learnings and best practices.

Both courses also increased participant’s understanding of the SAR system and gave them improved SAR knowledge that they can apply in their home organisations. The seminar in Rabat included a live SAR exercise while the event in Kenya included a Mass Rescue Operations tabletop exercise.

During the first course in Morocco, the IMRF also sat down with three participants to discuss their thoughts on the #WomenInSAR seminar and what more can be done to empower women in maritime SAR. You can listen to two exclusive IMRF podcasts here:

“We know that achieving a balanced workforce at all levels in the maritime SAR sector will improve culture, behaviour, outcomes, and productivity. We celebrate and promote the recruitment, retention, and sustained involvement of women in the maritime SAR sector,” said Caroline Jupe, CEO of the IMRF.

The maritime SAR community is continuing to take steps towards gender equality in the industry, and is well on its way to implementing plans to support women working in the sector and achieve greater gender balance among SAR staff and volunteers.

The IMRF’s #WomenInSAR initiative is looking to increase the representation of and provide support for women in the maritime SAR sector. To find out more about the initiative and the resources we have produced so far, including highlighting some amazing women in the industry, click here: