The 2006 Maritime Labour Convention: a Cautious Step towards Gender Awareness?

in Gender and the Law of the Sea
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Shipping is an industry in which women have a limited role. Most work on passenger and cruise ships and only a few are masters or officers, while the vast majority are enlisted as ratings and other personnel. These occupations increase the vulnerability of women seafarers, and are added to the difficulties women face when searching to find work on ship or when they are effectively enlisted. Instances of harassment, including sexual harassment, are informally discussed but victims seldom complain officially. The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) has the ambition to be an international maritime labour code, and it includes some gender-related provisions, including both general clauses of equality and non-discrimination, few rather obvious provisions concerning separate accommodation and sanitary facilities on board ships; and considerations relating to maternity with respect to social security benefits and leave entitlement. The chapter discusses the value of the explicit clauses of the MLC as well as the potential for developing gender awareness in the maritime labour sector through the use of the compliance and enforcement provisions of the MLC.

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