by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Pacific Women in Maritime Association (PWIMA) is a regional interactive forum established in 2005 for Pacific women employed in the maritime sector.
The establishment of the forum was done so to bring together women throughout the Pacific who are working in the maritime sector, to discuss the challenges they encounter in their field of work and to promote solutions and opportunities that could help them overcome these challenges.
Since its establishment, positive outcomes have resulted, however, due to insufficient funding with other issues, the forum has become inactive.
Last week, a week-long conference was held in Tonga, Nukua’alofa to relaunch the PWIMA.
The conference gathered more than 60 females working in the maritime sector across 15 countries throughout the Pacific for discussions on the challenges they encounter in the sector.
Each gathered female participant and representative was given the opportunity to bring discussions on the challenges they face.
Based on these challenges, the forum has taken ownership to provide tangible solutions to raise the profile of women in the sector and their involvement through advocacy and awareness programs.
The theme of the five-day conference was ‘Recognising the Economic Contribution and Leadership of Women in the Pacific Maritime Sector’.
The conference also reinforced the regional commitment for a Pacific Platform for Action on Advancement of Women and Gender Equality, with focus on empowering women in the Pacific.
It was organised by the International Maritime Organisation and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and supported by New Zealand.