We Are Creating Awareness to Increase the Presence of Women in the Industry
  • February 3, 2022
  • Blog

WISTA Turkey (Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association) Board President Ms. Nazlı Selek says they remind the presence of women in the maritime industry by organizing seminars and meetings and underlines that they provide all kinds of support to provide a safe working environment for women both on board and on land.

WISTA Turkey, which aims to create a space where women employed in the maritime industry can share their Daily problems, experiences and ideas with the aim of providing solidarity, provides scholarships to female students studying at maritime faculties and colleges. We have talked with Ms. Nazlı Selek, Board President of the Association, about the 2022 report card of the industry and the reflections of the pandemic on the relations between companies and on trade.

I would like to start with current news. You have been elected to the board of WISTA. What does this mean for Turkish shipping and WISTA Turkey?

As WISTA Turkey President, it has been a great pleasure for me to be elected to the board of WISTA International. For the Turkish maritime industry, it is a step that I attach great importance to, primarily because it will be instrumental in making our country’s name well-known in the international arena. In addition, I think that we have been able to make our voices heard in terms of WISTA Turkey with the projects we have realized since our establishment, with our participation in international meetings, with diligence, determination and work. In raising this awareness, we should not forget the contributions of Ms. Nuvara Uslu Erdönmez and Ms. Halime Can, former WISTA Turkey Presidents.

How does the election process work? Can you give information about the nomination and voting procedure?

The seven members of the WISTA International Board of Directors each have terms of office of two years. When this period expires, they can become candidates again and can be a member of the Board of Directors for a maximum of six years, that is, three terms. It is not possible for them to be nominated later. Every year, it is announced that an election will be held for the position of the member or members of the Board of Directors who have completed their two-year term of office. There is a nominating committee that runs this procedure. Nominations are submitted by the Boards of Directors of their respective countries.

There are certain criteria, such as being a member of WISTA for a certain period of time and attending General Assemblies for a certain number of times. The committee conducts interviews with the candidates who meet these criteria and explains the qualifications and workload required by the membership of the board of directors. It announces the candidates who have stated that they can fulfill these duties, and these candidates deliver a three-minute speech at the general assembly. Then, each country’s Board of Directors runs an election, using one voting right. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes becomes a member of the Board of Directors.

We represent all segments of the industry, we are an association standing at an equal and fair distance to everyone.

When we consider the structure of WISTA and compare WISTA Turkey with the WISTAs in other countries, are there any features that make Turkey different?

WISTA Turkey is not much different from other countries in terms of structure. In fact, the WISTA local association of each country has its own cultural, sectoral and regional characteristics. We are very similar to the WISTA associations of Greece and Cyprus. We represent all segments of the industry, we are an association standing at an equal and fair distance to everyone. The only thing that distinguishes us from the WISTAs of other countries is the scholarship opportunity we provide for female students studying in the maritime industry, which we have been carrying out for years as a social aid project. We have been successfully carrying out this project for years and there is no other WISTA that is a sustainable outreach project like this.

What are you doing as WISTA Turkey to help women take more roles in the industry?

First of all, as WISTA, we remind the presence of women in the industry by participating in sectoral meetings, organizing seminars and meetings, in all environments and under all conditions. Anyone who sees us immediately notices and remembers the female sailors. We have many members from not only women working onboard but also women working on the land. Therefore, we are trying to raise awareness in terms of increasing the presence of women in all areas of the industry. Our members create this awareness in their own institutions, we visit universities and make speeches. We support students and also provide all kinds of support to encourage women’s employment on board and to provide a safe working environment for women both on board and on land.

We have started to see more women in every field of the maritime industry. What is the reason for this? Can we talk about the same increase for shipowners?

Actually, my personal determination is that there have always been many successful women in this industry in our country. The number of women on board was very few and there is a significant increase in that number, but the number of women on land was actually higher than in other countries. With the new generation growing up, the number of these women in executive positions is increasing and the situation is the same for shipping companies. This is something we really want and support. We want it to increase even more and it is very important for us to support young people in this sense.

As WISTA, what kind of roadmap do you follow on environmental sustainability?

WISTA has organized many international seminars and webinars in terms of environmental sustainability. At the general meetings and conferences, we held in Rotterdam and Hamburg, we delivered presentations that approached this issue from the perspective of every stakeholder of the industry. In this sense, the active projects of our members were brought to the fore and discussed. Carbon footprint is an issue that we attach great importance to. Something that I personally care about a lot, for example, we drive an electric car and we built a power plant, we produce from solar energy. Therefore, it is an issue that I personally attach great importance to.

What do you see as the issues that will come to the fore in the maritime industry in 2022 as a lawyer?

As a lawyer, I think that the maritime industry will continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19 in 2022. In addition, I believe that the legal evaluations of the carbon footprint, the adaptation process of the ships, the cyber risk insurance coverage in terms of marine insurance, and the legal developments regarding the future of the LOF contract in terms of marine rescue services will occupy the agenda.

Protective Legal Support is Important in our Industry

The important thing in this process is that both the renters and the shipowners maintain their commercial relations with firm and detailed contracts. In other words, they define the risks they can foresee with the terms of the contract and ensure that the contracts are legally audited. I think it is important that they get legal support before a dispute arises, rather than after it arises. By knowing the risks beforehand, entering into commercial relations will also make it possible to take precautions.

There is almost chaos due to breaks in the supply chain, rising freight rates and demurrages, along with the pandemic. As a lawyer, how do you see the reflections of this process on the relations between companies and on trade? Is there an increase in commercial lawsuits?

It is not possible that such chaotic situations are not reflected in the commercial relations between companies, of course, they will have reflections. When freight rates are high, the reflection of such disputes in commercial cases may not be immediate and may take time. Currently, we do not see a high increase in commercial cases in this respect, but I think we can feel this effect in the long run.

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