Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

142 INTERVIEW Where are the women? Jon Ingleton speaks with Elpi Petraki to find out about WISTA International’s work to improve diversity in the maritime sector Women represent just 1.28 per cent of the global seafarer workforce, with most of those in the cruise and passenger ferry sectors, according to a 2021 report from Bimco and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). While that figure is a big improvement on years gone by, there is clearly scope for greater representation of women in the industry. The Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA International) has been connecting female executives since it was established in 1974. Now, its network of more than 3,800 professionals in the maritime, trading and logistics industries aims to support and empower women already working in the sector, and attract more to the industry. “We’re working with the industry to provide women with equal opportunities for safe employment at sea and for industry roles ashore,” says Elpi Petraki, chartering and operations manager for Greek shipping firm ENEA Management, who was appointed as the new president of WISTA International in late 2022. “We want to see more women in leadership positions and for employers to actively support women’s career progression and ambitions.” WISTA’s focus is on collaborating with universities and academies to grow female participation and retention in “ There is a bias against women, and whether it is conscious or not, it still exists” WISTA and its partners are collaborating on various initiatives to increase the number of women working in the global maritime industry