Having recently returned from the annual general meeting of WISTA (Women in Shipping and Trade) in Stockholm and having spend a couple of days with more than 200 Ladies from 28 Countries discussing topics under the motto of the conference which was Leadership, there was a volley of reproaches by my male colleagues literally stating that they feel discriminated by an organization that is for Ladies only. Whilst I am quite sure that these reproaches have only been made to have a reason to set up men in Shipping at the next pub I would like to use this opportunity to make one point clear: WISTA is not just for Women! Yes, Wista provides a networking platform for Women but WISTA also contributes a certain point of view of senior management shipping people towards the industry. And WISTA is far away from being a female organization; we have a lot of corporate entities supporting our organization and actually WISTA USA has male members as well. Not to mention that men are regularly invited to WISTA events (see Lars Safverstrom of GAC speaking at recent WISTA AGM).
We as WISTA UAE picked up on this fact and had lengthy discussion how to make WISTA UAE an organization of which the whole of the shipping community can profit and here is what we came up with: we will offer corporate memberships and suggest to each CEO to encourage the female staff to join us on behalf of the corporate entity. We hope that this step will lead to more support of female staff spending time networking within the WISTA platform.
Why we think this benefits the whole of the maritime industry in the Middle East? Just by comparison WISTA Europe has 812 members whilst WISTA Middle East has 9. So if we wish to put away the still existing prejudice that Women in the Middle East are oppressed it would be a step in the right direction to join the female members of shipping companies together under one organization that speaks out.
What do the members of WISTA UAE get for the money? We offer in regular intervals training sessions in locations not accessible for public. Locations are on vessels, in engine rooms, Dry Docks, Ports etc and speakers are from Salvage masters, Brokers, Lawyers to Charterers. A few of these sessions are for members only, others are open to members and non members alike.
If you are interested in a Corporate or private membership, just wish to get to know us better or would like to be provided with the schedule of events please feel free to contact me directly on Jasamin.Fichte@fichtelegal.com
Some Pictures from the event