Celebration of women in ports on International Women’s Day

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Published: Mar 11, 2024

Port Skills and Safety hosted a women in ports celebration on International Women’s Day in collaboration with the British Ports Association (BPA) and the UK Major Ports Group.

Over 50 people attended the celebration online from ports across the UK ranging from chief executives to operational staff. The meeting was chaired by Shenaz Bussawon (events, marketing and programme manager at BPA), who opened with an inspirational quote followed by Jen Maddison (health, safety and culture lead at PSS), sharing her experiences of working on construction sites and quaysides over the last 25 years.

Online polls were used to encourage discussion and gather feedback on how to support women in ports and participants shared their own experienced and recommended useful resources. The group discussed the challenges faced by women including the provision of well fitting PPE, balancing work and family life, gender pay gap and societal expectations.

Delegates agreed on the importance of allyship and the need to publicly show support to build a safer and more inclusive work environment for everyone. Many agreed on feeling like imposters in male-dominated industries despite years of experience and expertise and discussed the importance of mentoring and coaching.

It was clear that participants want more support for women in ports and the associations are reviewing feedback to identify actions. It is likely that these will include online meetings and networking opportunities, potential mentoring schemes and raising awareness of the challenges.

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