The Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) is proud to launch its inclusion pledge. The pledge addresses the under representation of women in the maritime industry through a series of statements aimed at embracing diversity through individual action and personal responsibility. Individuals are encouraged to sign the pledge in support of a diverse and inclusive maritime sector. The pledge can be found online on the WISTA International website or Change.org. Signatories of the pledge commit to "Embrace diversity of thought (including gender, race, ethnicity, and age) and contribute to a merit-based business environment within my organisation. I will be a champion of equal opportunity and equal pay. My behavior will reflect how I wish our industry to behave in the future. I will work - and encourage others to work - toward a diverse and inclusive maritime sector." "Embracing diversity and inclusion is a business decision that no leader in today's global and competitive marketplace can ignore. Leaders who encourage diversity of thought, including gender, age, race, and ethnicity, know that their teams benefit from a wide variety of experiences and perspectives, which drive innovation and change," said WISTA International President Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou. "We geared this pledge to individuals, for we feel strongly that individuals have the power to bring about change." In 2018, WISTA International appointed a Diversity Committee to focus on practical solutions to increase opportunities for gender diversity in the maritime industry. Writing a pledge to challenge the community to advance diversity and inclusion was a mandate of the committee. The Diversity Committee includes women from 14 National WISTA Associations, in acknowledgement of the global nature of the shipping industry. The members are: Lucrecia De Boutaud Bernal, WISTA Argentina; Tami Ray, WISTA Bermuda; Fabiana Simões Martins, WISTA Brazil; Nanalie Cover, WISTA Cayman Islands; Agatha Savvidou, WISTA Cyprus; Beatrice Witovet, WISTA France; Asana Owu, WISTA Ghana; Katerina Konsta, WISTA Greece; Preetika Mehrotra, WISTA Hong Kong; Tiziana Murgia, WISTA Italy; Yulia Kashina, WISTA Russia; Cecilia Osterman, WISTA Sweden; Maryana Yarmolenko, WISTA Switzerland; and Sarah Brennan, WISTA USA. "We are very proud to promote this pledge to our industry," said Theodosiou. "Our Diversity Committee members wrote this pledge to address the various challenges female professionals confront in our industry and the many ways men can champion and support inclusion and diversity in their workplace." WISTA International is a global networking organization for female managers in the shipping industry, with more than 3,000 members worldwide, and 45 National WISTA Associations (NWAs). WISTA members represent nearly every facet of the industry, including ship owners and ship operators, mariners, logistics and port executives, maritime technology experts, legal and finance professionals, regulatory professionals, engineers, academics, service providers, suppliers, and government employees. WISTA was approved for consultative status with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in July 2018, providing the organization with a formal voice for supporting IMO work in a variety of areas. WISTA works with a wide variety of global maritime and governmental bodies to support professional development, opportunities and networking for female executives in the maritime industry. For more information about WISTA International, please visit www.wistainternational.com.