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13 June, 2024
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Cypriot maritime leader honored with IMO Gender Equality Award

Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou recognized for advocacy in advancing women in shipping

Andreas Karamitas

Cypriot Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou has been honored with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Gender Equality Award for her outstanding contributions to promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in the maritime industry. The award, presented during the IMO Council's 130th session in November, recognizes Theodosiou's leadership as President of WISTA International, an organization dedicated to advancing women in maritime and shipping professions.

During her tenure, Theodosiou championed initiatives that brought attention to gender equality issues within the maritime sector, raising awareness among industry stakeholders and policymakers while amplifying women's voices and highlighting their significant contributions. Her efforts led to WISTA International obtaining consultative status at the IMO and establishing partnerships that facilitated impactful initiatives such as the Women in Shipping 2021 Survey and the Maritime Speakers Bureau.

In recognition of her achievements, Deputy Minister of State for Shipping Marina Hadjimanoli traveled to London to attend the award ceremony, which was suggested by Cyprus. Hadjimanoli also addressed the "Cyprus Forum London" conference, promoting Cyprus as a leading maritime center and advocating for the Cypriot flag as a symbol of quality and credibility. Additionally, she visited London-based shipping companies to attract new businesses to Cyprus and encourage ship registration under the Cyprus Register of Shipping.

The IMO Gender Equality Award, established to honor individuals and institutions driving gender equality and women's empowerment in the maritime industry, underscores the importance of initiatives like those led by Theodosiou and WISTA International. Nominations for the award are evaluated by a committee comprising representatives from WISTA International, the International Transport Workers' Federation, the International Chamber of Shipping, IMO member states, and the Legal Committee.

Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou, CEO of Tototheo Maritime, holds a distinguished career in the maritime sector, having served as President of WISTA International from 2017 to 2022. She has also held leadership positions in organizations such as the Cyprus Electricity Authority and the Cyprus Gas Company and is a board member of the Cyprus Chamber of Shipping and the Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation. Theodosiou holds degrees from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, the University of Oxford, and the Copenhagen Business School, and is recognized for her significant contributions to advancing gender equality in maritime industries worldwide.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and edited for clarity and brevity]


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