Hafnia Visit hafniabw.com

Women in Maritime Lab

Hafnia, BW Group, and Shell will partner to run a first of its kind innovation program called “Women in Maritime Lab”.

The program aims to scout innovative ideas from people of all genders on the challenges faced by women in maritime. Teams, who submit their ideas online, will be shortlisted to participate in a virtual innovation sprint led by Hafnia, BW Group, and Shell. The best ideas, selected by a panel of judges, will then receive an award and a chance to work with these companies to conduct a POC (proof of concept) of their ideas.

Need help with your ideas? Download our best practice guide for submitting ideas.

Statements and facts

In preparation for this program, we interviewed several key leaders in the maritime industry and also sent our surveys globally to employees in the maritime industry (of all gender identities).

Close to 200 respondents completed the survey. Here are a few key statistics from the survey which highlight why we need immediate action.

  • In the participants’ opinion, less than 10% of senior management roles are filled by women in their companies.
  • On average, most employees rated their organisation average or below-average at attracting more women to join shipping and promoting those that are in shipping to senior roles.
  • An alarming 48% of the respondents mentioned they know someone at work who was not taken seriously due to their gender.

Survey Results

In your opinion, how good is your organization at attracting more women?

(1 star is very poor, and 6 stars is excellent)


In your opinion, how good is your organisation at encouraging more women to take up roles which are usually male dominated?

(1 star is very poor, and 6 stars is excellent)


In your organization, what percentage of top management is comprised of women?

(Your best guess)

Have you experienced that you or one of your female colleagues were not taken seriously at work because of gender?


Focus areas for the program

It’s clear that the challenges faced by women in maritime are broad. Therefore, we encourage participants to think widely and creatively. Three examples are provided below to help get you started with your thinking. Whatever challenge or problem statement you choose, please ensure that you describe it in detail in your application.

How might we position the shipping industry to attract more women to consider careers?

– Traditionally shipping has been viewed as a male-dominated industry, although this is not often true for office-based jobs. What is preventing women from starting their careers in shipping or moving to new roles in shipping? How do we overcome these barriers?

How might we create conditions that enable women to develop and progress to senior roles within the shipping industry?

– In our surveys, participants responded that women fill less than 10% of senior management roles in their organizations. How do we change this?

How might we better support women returning from maternity leave, or with caring responsibilities, to effectively manage work and home-life?

– Due to COVID-19, the majority of roles and the very nature of how we work are changing. Despite the challenges of the world, how do we ensure that women are given the required flexibility in their careers?

Our commitment

While we recognize that the challenges faced by women in maritime vary across companies and geographies, we also noticed certain key issues, which are industry-wide and which need to be addressed immediately. Our objective is to look for innovative ideas, which can be implemented and scaled globally across our organizations.

To facilitate this process, Hafnia, BW Group, and Shell have formed a working group that will fund the winning ideas generated by this program to turn them into workable prototypes. These prototypes will then be tested in our individual companies. The winning team will be given a chance to be part of the working group and the proof of concept process.

Who can participate?

We encourage anyone who works in the maritime industry to participate, regardless of company or gender!
We also welcome ideas from current university students aspiring for a career in the maritime industry.

You can submit your ideas in a PowerPoint format not exceeding 5 MB, including the below points:

  • The problem statement you are addressing
  • Your solution
  • Why you think it’s unique

What are we looking for?

WhileCOVID-19 is disrupting industries across the world, it also provides opportunities for new ideas and businesses to emerge. Digital ways of working and remote teams have become the norm. As you are thinking about the problem statements here, it may be helpful to keep the current situation in mind. Does it offer new opportunities for these traditional gender barriers? We also see a lot of potential for ideas that harness technology/digitalisation (websites, apps, etc.), as they are easily scalable across companies and geographies.

Here are a few more pointers:

You can pick one or more of the above problem statements. Please submit a separate idea for each.

You and your team can submit as many ideas as you want.

You don’t need any technology expertise – we will provide that for you if your idea is selected for the proof of concept stage.

If your team is selected for the innovation sprint, we will work with you to further refine and prototype your ideas.

In our experience, we have seen that diverse groups with varying levels of seniority often perform best in ideation exercises like this. Think about that while forming your team.

Watch our virtual kickoff meeting

Watch our recording of our virtual kickoff call so you can get to know more about the program.


Login to: