Mackenzie says the conference convened to acknowledge the progress made on the 2016 Conference Resolution and work plan of PacWiMA. The drafting of a five-year strategic plan also began at the conference, as well as a complementary work plan for the next couple of years. The updated plans will be presented to heads of maritime and transport ministers in 2020.
Mackenzie says encouraging new members to join and support the establishment of more State Women in Maritime Associations was also discussed. Women are reported to make up only two per cent of the world’s maritime work force. A day to celebrate women in the maritime industry was also agreed upon by the conference, to take place annually on May 18.
A “lack of awareness of women’s contributions to maritime and traditional mindsets in a previously male-dominated industry” are the biggest challenges facing Pacific women in maritime says Mackenzie.
All those at the conference recognised and reaffirmed that the Pacific maritime sector must contribute towards achieving the sustainable development goal of gender equality, she adds.
Looking towards the future of Cook Islands women in maritime, Mackenzie says: “There is exuberance, experience, ambition, humility, cohesiveness, intelligence and passion that is possessed by the executive and members of the Cook Islands Women in Maritime Association.”
Mackenzie says she will support women currently in the maritime industry by easing access to training and capacity-building opportunities. She hopes these initiatives will eventually strengthen the maritime industry as a whole and build a network of progress and achievement for all.
Gathering the necessary data and information needed to create awareness and support campaigns for women in maritime is also a priority for Mackenzie. She aims to work alongside governmental departments and agencies to actively promote career opportunities to young Cook Islands females also.
“Along with humble thanks to CIWiMA for choosing me as the member to attend the events in Papua New Guinea, I wish to state a personal note of gratitude to Maritime Cook Islands, Ministry of Transport, Ports Authority and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for supporting me to be a delegate representing the Cook Islands.”