The share of female participation in ESPO’s work remains relatively high in 2022

08 March 2023

In 2022, the overall number of women participating in the ESPO Committee and Network meetings remained at a relatively high level, albeit not yet reaching gender parity.  

In 2022, taking all technical committees together, women represented 38% of the port professionals who attended ESPO meetings. This is very close to the share of women participating in 2021, which was 38,87%.

Ever since ESPO started monitoring the gender balance of its internal meetings in 2018, the share of female participants has been on a positive trajectory. Female participation has increased in key ESPO meetings in the past year.

The Executive Committee, which is the policy-making body of the organisation, saw an attendance of 34% women on average in 2022. This is a 3-percentage point improvement since last year. The General Assembly also saw a slight increase in female participation in 2022, with 34% female participants.

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 2022.

The Blue Growth Network reported the best result in 2022. Having been merged with the Energy Network to become the Energy and Blue Growth Committee, it remains gender balanced with over half of meeting participants being women at 51% in 2022.

Even if we see a slight decrease compared to last year, almost 4 participants out of 10 in the Port Governance and Management Committee in 2022 were women (39%).

The Intermodal, Logistics & Industry Committee has a similar share of women at 37%. This is an increase in participation with 1-percentage point compared to 2021. The Economic Analysis and Statistics Committee had 30% female participation in 2022, which is a decrease from 2021. 

The Trade Facilitation, Customs and Security, and Marine Affairs Committees showed the lowest percentage of women attendees last year with 19%. In 2022, the now merged Committee saw a significant improvement in female participation, with close to a quarter of participants being female (24%). The Labour and Operations Network has a similar share of female participants at 23%.

The good results continue for the level of female participation in the Sustainable Development Committee, were almost half of meeting participants were female in 2022 (47%). The same is true for the Cruise and Ferry Port Network which saw 49% female participation last year.

The ESPO secretariat consists of 70% women, led by ESPO Secretary General Isabelle Ryckbost. Out of the nine technical ESPO committees and networks, three are currently chaired by women.

“Ports connect economies, regions, and people. They are multitaskers combining different roles and responsibilities and need very different skills and strengths. Having a good gender balance in ports is one of the main instruments to help ports in playing their role successfully. The share of female port professionals active in ESPO is an important indicator for us,” says ESPO’s Chair Zeno D’Agostino.

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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