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Princess Anne Advocates for Increased Female Participation in Maritime Workforce

Princess Anne Advocates for Increased Female Participation in Maritime Workforce

Dubai, UAE – Princess Anne has made a compelling call for more women to join the maritime industry, highlighting the current underrepresentation of female seafarers globally during a conference in Dubai. Speaking at the Women in Shipping and Trading Conference, the Princess Royal emphasized the need to boost the mere 2% of women in the world’s seafaring roles, urging for enhanced support networks at sea and onshore to facilitate their success.

A Vision for Equality at Sea

In her capacity as president of The Mission to Seafarers charity, Princess Anne’s visit to the DP World pavilion at Dubai Expo City was not just ceremonial but a clarion call for gender inclusivity in the shipping sector. Her advocacy is backed by the stark statistic that out of 1.9 million seafarer posts globally, women occupy only a fraction.

Challenging the Status Quo

Princess Anne’s commitment to this cause is long-standing, having been at the helm of the Mission since 1984. Her visit to Jebel Ali port, where the charity’s welfare teams have made significant strides in supporting seafarers, underscores the broader effort to address and reduce cases of abandonment and improve working conditions for all at sea, including advocating for women’s rights and representation.

Highlighting Successes and Challenges

The reduction in ship abandonments in the UAE, attributed to stricter penalties and improved protection frameworks for seafarers, represents a step forward in addressing some of the sector’s challenges. However, Princess Anne pointed out the unique obstacles female seafarers face, from workplace discrimination to practical issues like ill-fitting gear, underscoring the need for systemic change.

A Path Forward

The conference also served as a platform for sharing experiences and advocating for policy changes that support female seafarers, with discussions touching on sexual harassment, bullying, and isolation. The narrative shared by industry professionals, including those from the Oil Companies International Marine Forum, highlighted both past struggles and the positive shifts in policy and perception towards women in maritime roles.

Empowering the Next Generation

The UAE is part of a changing tide, with institutions like the Sharjah Maritime Academy seeing a majority of their places now occupied by women, challenging the global trend. Similarly, initiatives in Saudi Arabia under Vision 2030 reflect a broader regional shift towards gender inclusivity in the maritime sector.


Princess Anne’s call to action in Dubai is more than a plea for gender equality; it’s a directive to the maritime industry to evolve, to dismantle outdated norms, and to build a more inclusive, supportive environment for women at sea. As the sector looks to the future, her advocacy serves as a reminder of the work still needed to ensure that women are not only represented but also supported and valued within the maritime workforce.

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