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Gender Neutral Working Environment and Employment

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About Us

The International Women Seafarers Foundation is a Section 8 Company, a not-for-profit organization. The organization was founded in 2017 by three pioneering women seafarers of India: Capt. Radhika Menon, Ch. Engineer Suneeti Bala, and Ms. Sharvani Mishra. As the name suggests, IWSF works for the benefit of the women seafaring community around the world to bring about gender equality in the maritime profession. We currently have over 800 women seafarer members from India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Brazil and Oman and we are expanding with each passing day.

In order to achieve this prime goal, IWSF partners with administrators, maritime unions, ship owners, ship managers, and several maritime representative bodies to provide training, education, guidance, mentoring, policy, and execution support at various levels. Further, IWSF also conducts surveys and research to understand the effectiveness of current policies in providing a gender-neutral environment on board.

Women face numerous social challenges in their pursuit of a sailing career. Young girls, more often than not, when faced with unusual circumstances, are unable to take the right steps at the right time, leading to complications for peers and companies employing them. IWSF members strive every day to support all ladies who have chosen this challenging profession.

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To Welfare
of Women


Our Work

In its quest for promoting and supporting women seafarers, the IWSF has achieved the following milestones in its 6 years of existence:

  • Employed over 60 women seafarers and continuously seeks to improve the employment of women seafarers, both on-board and ashore. We are a single point of contact for ship managers and shipping companies seeking to create equal opportunities by hiring women seafarers/shore personnel.
  • Mentored, supported, guided, and provided assistance in fighting against sexual harassment cases to over 25 women seafarers. We are committed to maintaining the privacy of the companies and women seafarers in serious sexual harassment cases.
  • Successfully conducted Maritime Awareness campaigns (with particular attention to raising awareness about the presence of women in the merchant navy) in close to 30 schools/underprivileged institutions/shelter homes/orphanages, reaching over 2000 students. We have also partnered with Face of Shipping for the Adopt A Ship Program in India. The program was launched in 6 schools last year before COVID-19 interrupted its progress. Currently, the program is being run online with orphanages.
  • A part of ISWAN’s ‘Special Purpose Group, DG’s ‘Maritime Vision’, and several other maritime groups.
  • Conducted a safety awareness campaign for fishermen along the South Indian coast jointly with Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS). The campaign aimed to make fishermen aware of navigation aids available to them and rules they must follow while maneuvering around larger vessels in transit.
  • Worked jointly with DG and a special committee to prepare DG Notice 7 of 2019, the first- ever guidelines for the employment of women seafarers in India. The guidelines came as a follow-up to IWSF's annual seminar in 2018, during which IWSF had launched its draft guideline for women seafarer employment.
  • Recently launched a YouTube channel to educate the general public about how to enter this challenging and rewarding career in the merchant navy. Links to the videos can be found on our publication page under resources.
  • Regularly shares information and conducts seminars to bring to light pressing issues related to women seafarers. We continuously liaise with organizations to open discussions on challenges faced in hiring women seafarers and work together with them to find solutions.

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Membership Plans

*Note: All plans are for women except corporate plans