More women active in ESPO meetings in 2021 for second year in a row

08 March 2022

For the second year in a row, the overall number of women participating in the ESPO Committees meetings has increased. In 2021, taking all technical committees together, women represented 38,87% of the port professionals who attended ESPO meetings. This represents a 3% increase compared to the numbers in 2020. Ever since ESPO started monitoring the gender balance of its internal meetings in 2018, that number has been steadily increasing.

A closer look into the results of the different technical committees reveals that a majority of ESPO committees have seen an increase in the share of women attending the meetings in 2021. The Blue Growth Network reports the best result with 64,71% of women attending its meetings, an increase of 6% compared to 2020. The Sustainable Development Committee and the Cruise and Ferry Port Network both had an almost equal representation of men and women at their meetings, a stable trend in both committees compared to 2020. Even if we see a slight decrease compared to the previous year, 4 participants out of 10 in the Port Governance and Management Committee in 2021 were women. Two Committees showcase the biggest increase, with 12% more women taking part in the meetings of the Intermodal, Logistics & Industry Committee and the Economic Analysis and Statistics Committee (in total 36% and 37%, respectively). The Energy Network, the General Assembly, and the Executive Committee, gathered on average one third of women at their meetings (34%, 33% and 31%, respectively). The Trade Facilitation, Customs and Security, and Marine Affairs Committees show the lowest percentage of women attendees last year with 19%.

It is very encouraging to see that also in a challenging year where many port professionals had to work from home, combining more than ever work with family, the female attendance to ESPO meetings has grown. Referring to this year’s theme for the International Women’s Day, I invite every port in Europe to break the bias that still might exist for recruiting women for certain functions in the port. Job offers and profiles for jobs in the port must attract women to the port and not discourage them,” says ESPO’s Chair Annaleena Mäkilä.

Since 2018, ESPO has been monitoring the gender balance through the effective attendance of port professionals to the different meetings of the organisation. The results of this monitoring are published each year on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. ESPO is also one of the founding members of the European Commission’s initiative “Women in Transport – EU Platform for change”, launched in 2017. 

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