International Day for Women in Maritime

Published: 17 May 2023

Maritime Union of Australia Press Release

18 May 20223

International Day for Women in Maritime

Mich-Elle Myers National Women's Officer



On May 18 we celebrate the IMO International Day for Women in Maritime. Our industry is still one of the most male dominated in the country however this represents an opportunity for the union to press employers around the recruitment of women into our industry.

The Maritime Union of Australia has a proud history of fighting to get more women in the industry and a proud history of ensuring they are also in the places where the decisions are being made.

It is Union policy to have women represented at our National Conferences, National Council, on site committees, at EBA negotiations and branch committee level so that the voices of women are heard.

Companies must do more to recruit women into the maritime industry and now with a looming seafarer shortage we have a real chance at changing the numbers and bringing more diversity into these jobs.

The Maritime Union has fought hard to ensure conditions are good to encourage women to join the industry with improvements to parental leave and flexile working arrangements, paid domestic and family violence leave above the NES and a support network of women’s representatives and committees.

Reforms to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) (Sex Discrimination Act) and the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) have strengthened protections for workers in Australia from harmful behaviours and disrespectful conduct in their workplaces. This is a positive step to make workplaces safer and put the onus on employers to stamp out gender discrimination in the workplace.

Persons conduction a business or undertaking now have a statutory duty to take ‘reasonable and proportionate measures’ to eliminate, as far as possible:

  • discrimination on the ground of sex in the context of work including the mandatory requirements of PCBU’s with regards to ‘Duty of Care’. This can include but not limited to, facilities for women in the workplace and appropriate PPE.
  • sexual harassment and sex-based harassment in a workplace context
  • conduct which creates a workplace environment which is hostile on the ground of sex.
  • certain forms of victimisation in the workplace.


“On this International Day of Women in Maritime the Union calls on all employers to take stock, assess and rectify the deficiencies in recruitment practices that are preventing women to work in our industry” Mich-Elle Myers said.

“For example, all major container terminals in Australia have women wharfies except for one, that being Patrick Terminal in Fremantle. It is not acceptable that this workplace has no women working there in 2023, despite many applying”.

“I want to pay tribute to all the women that were the first to work in a worksite or on a ship, you have proven these jobs are for women and paved the way for others to follow. The Union will not stop pushing maritime industry employers to deal with the clear gender discrimination that takes place in our industry, and we will be campaigning in every sector to make sure all employers get this message and act upon it”


Mich-Elle Myers

Maritime Union of Australia 


Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney