More than 50% of Pacific people live in outer islands. Maritime transport is the backbone of their island economies and communities. The importance of maritime transport in the Pacific has become increasingly critical during this time of COVID-19.
This sector provides jobs to more than 16,000 people whilst ensuring access for communities to health care, education, market opportunities and connection with friends and families spread across countries and the region.
COVID-19 and its flow-on impacts on the global supply chain has affected the Pacific, particularly, those in the remote and outer island communities.
Out of the 16,000 people employed in the Maritime transport sector, less than 10% are women. These women are facing a number of challenges maintaining their jobs during this on-going pandemic. These challenges include:
- experiencing adverse effects of their mental health and reduced ability to safely perform their roles in the face of increasing fatigue.
- crew changes have not been possible therefore affecting the ability of seafarers to earn a living and support their families.
- Increase of dual roles for demanding working females to prioritise office work and home given the closure of day cares, schools and university, resulting to having young children at home.
To bring these challenges to light, the Pacific Community (SPC) will host a 3-part series looking at these critical issues emanating from the pandemic, responses, ideas, solutions from regional organisations such as SPC, collaborating with traditional partners such as IMO, lens over the role of women in the maritime transport sector.
The first series this month will focus on the effects of COVID-19, especially to vulnerable groups such as women, children and people with special needs.
The second series in October will focus on the adaptive responses in implementing the work plan identified in the Regional Strategy for Pacific Women In Maritime (2020-2024).
The final series in December will engage with stakeholders within the sector including the Governments, Civil Society Organisations and development partners to take stock of 2020 and the projections for 2021.
To reflect on the work being done, below is a series of videos from all around the globe based on this year’s Day for Women in Maritime theme ‘Sustainable workforce promoting equal opportunities for Pacific women in Maritime’.