On March 8, 2023, the Norwegian Training Center launched its very first International Women’s Day Symposium. The event was kicked off with the National Anthem of the Philippines, followed by a doxology, and opening remarks by NTC’s very own Captain Jo Even Tomren, to which he mentioned that seafaring has no gender. He also talked about how life at sea is tough and requires sacrifices, regardless of gender; and how the maritime industry should attract talents, not gender, in a safe, inclusive, and equal workplace.
Captain Jo then introduced our first guest of honor, the Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines, Hon. Christian Halaas Lyster as he gave his own speech as he saluted the Norwegian Training Center for providing a platform for the event. Followed by the second guest of honor, the Danish Ambassador to the Philippines, Hon. Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin who mentioned that if the gender balance was good in the industry, then the world would be a much better place. He also showcased a series of information about the improvement of women in the Maritime Industry.
The third and last guest of honor, Captain Samie Lou Labadan-Sedurante from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) as she graced everyone with her speech about her journey, the challenges she faced in the Maritime Industry, and how she overcame them.
The audience was then given a performance by the Kammerchor Manila that surely gave them more energy throughout the day.
The symposium was divided into two parts, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. The morning session was conducted to talk about the different issues of women in the Maritime Industry. Issues such as Reproductive health for women on board, Shipboard environment for women, and Shipboard facilities and supplies for women.
The discussion was led by five esteemed panelists who have experience in the industry, Captain Boongaling, Captain Yumang, Ms. Sharma, Dr. Didoy, and 2/Engr. Gareza, together with the discussion’s moderator Ms. Fontamillas. After the panel has discussed the topics, the audience and even those who are watching the FB Live of the event were given the chance to ask questions to the panel via QR Code, to which they tackled more about dysmenorrhea onboard, definitions of sexual harassment, policy of mental health training before onboarding, and many more.
After the panel discussion, Mr. Gungor Ates, the managing director of Mearsk Philippines talked about the expectations for the workshop from a shipping company perspective.
The afternoon session was dedicated to the policy-making activity facilitated by Dr. Noel Racho and Ms. Danica Gonzales-Saurombe of the Women and Gender Institute (WAGI). It was discussed by Dr. Racho the basics of policies, the steps in developing one, and the role of seafarers. Ms. Danica then explained how the audience would be participating in this activity, as well as monitoring each table if they have any questions or clarifications. The activity ended with each table explaining and discussing their outputs.
Participants discussing their outputs
The event ended with closing remarks from NTC’s very own Finance Manager, Ms. Dianne Cabanado.
From left to right, Ms. Ana-Maria Florentino, Business and Trade Advisor of the Norwegian Ambassador; Mr. Larry Gonzales, NSA Cadet Manager; Mr. Jose Fugoso Jr., Head of Engine, Research and Development; Captain Edgar Inocencio, Head of Nautical, Research and Development; Mr. Eric Sarmiento, Corporate Services Manager; Mr. Bong Rabaya, Training Manager; Ms. Dianne Cabanado, Finance Manager; Captain Jo Tomren, Managing Director; Hon. Christian Halaas Lyster, the Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines; Ms. Ana Vasquez, Quality Assurance Manager; Captain Knut Bentzrod, Deputy Director; and Captain Rodcyn Yumang, Former Head of Nautical, Research and Development.