Skip to main content
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

Times Higher Education Awards

We were delighted that the GEM Project was shortlisted for the 2017 Research Project of the Year: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences award at the Times Higher Education Awards.

We would like to thank all those who participated in the research and contributed their valuable time. We would also like to thank our project funders, the ITF Seafarers Trust.

Times Higher Education Awards 2017

Find out more about the Times Higher Education Awards

GEM Project update

The GEM Project was successfully completed in 2016. The industry reports and other publications can be found under GEM publications. The project still generates much interest and commands a high profile within the industry. We will continue to provide updates here with information about GEM dissemination and other related news.

Webinar on 'Equal Shipping' from Lloyd's Maritime Academy

This webinar, presented by Lloyd’s Maritime Academy, assessed the current position of women in maritime at a turning point for the industry. The webinar looked at the importance of representation, reducing barriers, and speaking out against workplace inequality, and what the future looks like for the shipping industry.

Catch up on demand with Kate and the rest of the panel by clicking on the link below.

Listen now

GEM publications

Read the GEM project full report

Read the GEM project report summary

Chinese Women Seafarers: A Case Study of the Women Cadets in Shanghai

Research background

The Gender, Empowerment and Multicultural Crews (GEM) project explored seafarers’ welfare, focussing on gender issues arising from multi-cultural crews and isolation. The research and data findings will facilitate the development of appropriate tools to help support women within the industry.

This research into seafarer’s welfare and on-board experiences has drawn on the unique access to data from current and former students at the University’s Warsash Maritime Academy, as well as comparable data from China’s Shanghai Maritime University and Nigeria’s National Maritime Academy. This has helped to establish patterns relating to the welfare of seafarers, particularly women, and how they are treated on board in today’s multicultural working environment.

This project has been able to highlight the good practice that will encourage women’s participation in seafaring. The research recommendations also reveal a range of measures that may lead to further engagement of women with the industry, both from a macro and micro level. The recommendations also highlight potential solutions to help support seafarers and enable them to feel safe on board regardless of their gender, nationality or rank.

The GEM Project strives to improve the welfare and working conditions on board for all crew, by empowering and supporting women who may be experiencing discrimination and harassment. It has identified gaps in current knowledge, raised awareness of the wider issues surrounding multicultural crews, so that women seafarers can be supported in addressing them and play a fuller role on board ships and beyond.

Industry voices

"Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurs productivity and growth, and benefits every stakeholder in the global maritime community."
Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General International Maritime Organisation. London February, 2013

"There are a plethora of factors that influence the wellbeing of seafarers. With only a tiny percentage of the seagoing workforce made up of women, identifying and properly exploring these factors is urgently needed – both so that women are encouraged to become seafarers, and so that female seafarers feel safe, valued and respected while at sea. The Seafarers’ Trust is therefore delighted to sponsor this timely research.”
Kimberly Karlshoej, ITF Seafarers’ Trust

“This project aims to improve the welfare and working conditions on board for all crew by empowering and supporting women who may be experiencing discrimination and harassment. It will identify gaps in current knowledge and raise awareness of the wider issues surrounding multicultural crews so that women can play a fuller role on board ships and beyond.”
Dr Kate Pike, Senior Research Fellow at Solent University, and research lead

Press releases

For a full list of places where the project has been disseminated, please refer to the project dissemination page.

Example press releases include:

Southampton Solent University, 2017. 'Rocking the boat'. In: Official Southampton Solent University [online]. 7 February. Available here.

Nautilus International, 2016. 'A GEM of an idea to attract more women seafarers'. In: Nautilus International [online] 18 July.

Spinnaker Global, 2016. ‘China’s new policies could help female seafarers’. In: Changing Course [online]. 21 January 2016.

Southampton Solent University, 2015. 'Joint launch of China Centre and maritime research project'. In: Official Southampton Solent University [online]. 28 September 2015.

Ross, A., 2015. 'University to look at why so few women work at sea' [online]. Southern Daily Echo, 23 June. Available here.


KITADA, M., 2013. Code of behaviour at sea: women seafarers’ shipboard identity management. WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs, 12(2), 213-227.

KITADA, M., E. WILLIAMS and L.L. FROHOLDT, 2015. Maritime women: global leadership. Berlin: Springer.

MACNEIL, A. and S. GHOSH, 2017. Gender imbalance in the maritime industry: impediments, initiatives and recommendations. Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs, 9(1), 42-55.

Pike, K., E. Broadhurst, M. Zhao, P. Zhang, A, Kuje, N. Oluoha, 2016b. The Gender Empowerment and Multi-Cultural Crew (GEM) Project Report for the ITF Seafarers’ Trust. November 2016.

Pike, K., E. Broadhurst, M. Zhao, P. Zhang, A, Kuje, N. Oluoha, 2016a. The Gender Empowerment and Multi-cultural Crew (GEM) Project Summary, 2015-16 For the ITF Seafarers’ Trust.

RUGGUNAN, S. and H. KANENGONI, 2017. Pursuing a career at sea: an empirical profile of South African cadets and implications for career awareness. Maritime Policy & Management, 44(3), 289-303.

SAMPSON, H. et al., 2003. Women seafarers: global employment policies and practices. Geneva: International Labour Office.

STANLEY, J., 2016. From cabin 'boys' to captains: 250 years of women at sea. Stroud: The History Press

THOMAS, M., 2004. ‘Get yourself a proper job girlie!’: recruitment, retention and women seafarers* 1. Maritime Policy & Management, 31(4), 309-318.

WU, C. et al., 2017. Career development for women in maritime industry: organisation and socialisation perspectives. Maritime Policy & Management, 44(7), 882-898.

Zhao, M., L. Zhao, P. Zhang, J. Wu, K. Pike, E. Broadhurst. 2017. Chinese women seafarers: A case study of the women cadets in Shanghai. Marine Policy, 83, 40-47.

Sponsorship and supporters

Merchant Marine College, SMU logoInternational Seafarers Trust logo

Back to top