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Times Higher Education Awards

We are delighted to announce that the GEM Project has been 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

Future research

Following on from the work of GEM, a research project to examine mentoring at sea will commence in January 2018. The project will develop one of the GEM recommendations and will focus on the best mentoring practice throughout the industry to support and empower seafarers, particularly women and minority groups. The project is kindly sponsored by the ITF Seafarers Fund.

The GEM Project

Read the GEM project full report

Read the GEM project report summary

The Gender, Empowerment and Multicultural Crews (GEM) project, aims to examine 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 Southampton 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. Available here.

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

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

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


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.

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. 

Sponsorship and supporters 


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