Three veteran seafarers came together on Friday to launch the International Women Seafarers Foundation (IWSF). The foundation aims at encouraging more women to join the profession and to work with the government and shipping companies in bridging gaps in policies for women seafarers.
The foundation was launched in the presence of Director General (Shipping) Malini V Shankar, Sujata Tolani, the owner of Tolani Shipping Ltd, Captain Ashok Mahapatra, the Director of Safety Council, International Maritime Organisation and Pradeep Rawat, Chairman of the National Shipping Board. The body has been founded by the veteran seafarers, Captain Radhika Menon, Suneeti Bala and Sharvani Mishra, all of whom have had pioneering and award-winning careers in the merchant navy.
Bala said that since women comprised less than 2% of the 1.25 million seafarers working onboard more than 85,000 ships, they have been affected by gaps in policies, procedures and general social understanding of co-existence in the confined working environment of ships.