Launch of The Gender, Empowerment and Multilateral Crews (GEM) project

22 September 2015 marked the launch of the Southampton Solent University’s China Centre Maritime (CCM) and the Gender, Empowerment and Multicultural Crews Project (GEM) at an event at the International Maritime Organisation in London.

Sponsored by the Seafarers’ Trust, the GEM project is conducting in-depth research into  seafarers’ welfare and on-board experiences. Led by Dr Kate Pike, the project will draw on the unique access to data from current and former students SSU’s Warsash Maritime academy  (WMA) as well as comparable data from China’s Shanghai Maritime University and Nigeria’s National Maritime Academy.  This will help to establish patterns relating to the welfare of seafarers, particularly women, and how they are treated on-board in today’s multicultural working environment.

Alongside the Seafarers’ Trust workshops being held throughout 2016, the project will aim to shed light on good pratice in the industry whilst at the same time identifying welfare issues that currently prevent women from continuing with their training or even entering the sector at all. As such, this project will improve welfare and working conditions on-board for all crew by empowering and supporting women who may be experiencing discrimination and harassment.

Women seafarers make up an estimated 1-2% of the global seafaring population. Statistics such as this should motivate all interested stakeholders – from shipping companies to crewing agents – to make concerted policy efforts to integrate women more fully into the maritime sector. Considered alongside the Women Seafarers’ Health and Welfare Survey published by the ITF in 2015, academic research can play an important role in establishing benchmark data and baseline statistics that can help captivate industry partners.


Kimberly Karlshoej, Head of the Seafarers’ Trust

Kimberly Karlshoej, Head of the Seafarers’ Trust, speaking at the project launch commented that:

This research will help us to understand the context from a sea farer’s, men or women’s, point of view and will help identify the barriers and the frustrations that they face. I think it is safe to say that in the future it will be essential to strive towards a maritime industry that is inclusive and that views its lifeblood, its sea farers, as more than a sum of its parts.

The project now has a website publishing details relating to all past, present and future activities, as well as extending its research focus to not only include the UK and Nigeria, but the Philippines and India also.

For regular updates on the project click here


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