Ladies in the ocean business. WISTA Poland is 30 years old

 By Marek Grzybowski

The ladies belonging to WISTA Poland celebrated their 30th anniversary in Poland in September. The meeting of women active in the Association of Women in Maritime Economy and Trade took place on September 21 this year. The guests of honor included Magdalena Adamowicz, Member of the European Parliament and Dorota Lost-Siemińska, Director of the IMO Legal Department, Mrs. Nazli Selek, WISTA International, ExCo Memeber, WISTA representatives from Sweden, Norway and other countries.

Ladies have always been active in maritime transport, logistics and forwarding, ports and brokerage, ferry traffic and passenger shipping. Their activity has always taken place in global maritime logistics, in accounting services and port administration, in fleet management, and in production and repair shipyards. Many of them hold ministerial, professorial or managerial positions or run their own companies, successfully operating on the international market.
“By taking part in conferences, fairs, business meetings and international projects, women are present in increasing numbers, creating a new quality of relationships, supporting each other in business activities,” said Wanda Dobrowolska-Parafieńczyk, animator and founder of WISTA Poland, today the president of this organization in Poland.

Polish women are well recognized in the international maritime business. Maybe they are even more known internationally than in Poland. Managers and businesswomen from WISTA Poland have a strong position in the Polish maritime business in all industries.
This has long been noticed by members of the Baltic Maritime and Space Cluster, which supports women in the promotion of women in various fields of activity. Without women, operational and business activities would not be possible in Polish ports, forwarding companies, design offices and ports, shipping and fishing, maritime tourism and administration, scientific activities, economics, finance, insurance and law.

Ladies in Global Maritime Logistics
– We operate in a global network of women working in maritime transport and connect women in managerial positions, in port and shipyard management, ship operators and companies supporting maritime transport activities around the world – said Nazli Selek, WISTA International, ExCo Memeber.
Women in maritime transport work not only in offices. More and more women work on ships. Therefore, it is important to examine the culture of integration on ships and compliance with the organizational culture and gender equality. It is a joint venture between WISTA International, Anglo Eastern, the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) and ICS (International Chamber of Shipping). The second “The Diversity Handbook” was developed based on the diagnostic survey.

There are approximately 4,000 members of the WISTA International network. women active in all maritime industries. The organization is growing rapidly. WISTA branches operate in 56 countries and form the WISTA International network. Women from national organizations not only build regional networks of contacts, but also create new business opportunities and develop partnerships between maritime industries.
They participate in many local initiatives. This is where WISTA Norway stands out. The ladies from Norway have undertaken a very ambitious program of action. More than a year ago, they launched the ’40 by 30′ Pledge initiative.
“WISTA Norway has launched the 40 for 30 Pledge program. It involves the active involvement of the maritime business in promoting diversity in the maritime industry. The goal is to increase the share of women in management positions in the company related to maritime economy to 40% by 2030. This is to be one of the important measures of the industry’s activity to increase diversity,” explains Karolina Sutra Mevold from WISTA Norway.

WISTA Poland in the maritime industry, ports and universities

We registered our activity in the form of an association in 2013 – recalled president Wanda Dobrowolska-Parafieńczyk, noting that “WISTA Poland aims to support women working in the maritime economy, enabling them to establish personal and professional contacts, present their achievements, improve their qualifications and competences.”
“The ladies’ meetings are an opportunity to present the specifics of various areas of the maritime industry and exchange experiences, as well as learn about the operating conditions of companies in the broader context of the functioning of the economy and spatial planning,” said the president of WISTA Poland, informing about the topics and places of meetings in recent years.
These included meetings at PRS, during which non-classification support for the maritime industry was presented, and a meeting with Marek Tarczyński, president of the Polish Chamber of Forwarding and Logistics, regarding the situation in international forwarding. The meeting with President Monika Kozakiewicz at the Nauta Shipyard and the opportunity to visit the shipyard, including boarding the floating dock and the PŻM ship under renovation, were very popular.
Meetings at universities and participation in conferences have a different dimension, including: at the Maritime Economy Forum. Prof. Dorota Pić, head of the Department of Maritime Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Gdańsk, presented during one of the meetings the essence of spatial planning and the development plan for Polish maritime areas. WISTA Poland members also participated in a seminar on the 100th anniversary of the Port of Gdynia at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Gdańsk.

WISTA Poland Young Stars
An important part of WISTA’s activity in Poland is supporting young scientists, popularizing the sea among school youth and debates on the role of women in the maritime economy.
During the anniversary meeting, young scientists from the University of Gdańsk, the Maritime University of Gdynia and the Gdańsk University of Technology had the opportunity to present the results of their research. Ewa Psiut from GUM talked about the effects of disruptions in maritime logistics chains on trade between global markets. Klaudia Kowalewska from the University of Gdańsk presented the use of hydrogen technologies in the decarbonization of shipping and ports.

Olga Rozestwińska from GUT talked about the technology of designing the reconstruction of the wooden fishing cutter BK127 INTNESIVE using computer programs. Olga Wantuła from GUM talked about the activity of women at sea. Women still constitute a small share of ship crews. The presentation on the use of IT tools in maritime transport was prepared by Dominika Kaczerska and Krystian Kaczerski. Elements of the supply chain cannot do without IT tools, starting from document flow, through payment flows, insurance, and finally tracking and managing ships and cargo.


Leadership in women’s style
An interesting part of the meeting was the discussion of experts, which included: Dorota Lost-Siemieńska, director of the IMO Legal Department, prof. Dorota Pić, head of the Department of Maritime Law at the University of Gdańsk, Capt. z.w. Anna Wypych-Namotywko, Magdalena Jabłonowska, director of security at Lotos Petrobalitic, Dominika Werdecka-Latarska, head of the Painting Department of the Conrad shipyard.
During the discussion led by Dr. Agnieszka Czarnecka, the issue of leadership in management and communication with employees, work organization and management style came to the fore. “The role of the mentor is growing,” noted Dominika Werdecka-Latarska. “It is important to combine scientific knowledge and practice,” emphasized Prof. Drink. “It is necessary to be aware of your competences and knowledge,” noted Capt. Wypych-Tent,

There were wishes of prosperity and further development from the Mayor of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, MEP Magdalena Adamowicz, Kuba Szymański, Secretary General of InterManager, Coonie Rozen from WISTA International. There were tears of emotion. A nice accent was the awarding of the ladies with a Medal with the image of Capt. z.w. Danuta Walas Kobylińska, the first Polish sea captain. The date on it is May 18. This is the date when ladies working in the maritime economy celebrate their day.

Students presenting their scientific achievements and students who described how to protect the marine environment were honored. Students from primary school 33 in Gdańsk Osowa were awarded diplomas and gifts for the most interesting works on the protection of the marine environment.
Finally, there was time for memories and talks about the future of WISTA Poland. As president Wand Dobrowolska emphasized, there are many plans and new activities for the coming year. The ladies from WISTA Poland are not slowing down and are moving forward.