CESAM researcher leads European Project for Gender Equality in Blue Economy

The researcher Helena Vieira (CESAM/DAO) leads the WIN BIG (Women IN Blue Economy intelligence Gathering and Capacity Building) consortium, which has 14 partners in 9 different countries, and which official contract has now been signed.

This project aims to map, from a socioeconomic perspective, the gender status of the Blue Economy in the EU, specifically in its six maritime basins (Atlantic, Arctic, North Sea, Mediterranean, Baltic, Black Sea) and with a focus on the emerging areas of the Blue Economy: Blue bioeconomy/biotechnology, robotics, engineering and ocean renewable energies or offshore activities, as well as blue sports and sustainable tourism.

This knowledge is virtually nonexistent in the EU, and what exists is centred on more traditional activities such as maritime transport and fishing. Additionally, the WIN BIG project will map out barriers to progression and the remaining capacity needs for women in the Blue Economy, always concerned with correlation with the maritime basin and the sector in question.

As Helena Vieira says, “This is a triple important project for me. Firstly, because it deals with a topic very close to me and in an area where I work myself – the role of women in the maritime economy, one of the most promising sectors for a sustainable future. Secondly, because it represents my successful return to academia, being the first project, I wrote and applied for, and that I won, after leaving the position I held before in the Ministry of the Sea and that is excellent!
Third and last, because this project, much more than the funding it brings to all consortium partners, represents our contribution to a better, fairer, more cohesive and more sustainable Europe! And that’s why it’s great to know that we can do science with a direct impact on people, in this case women and the planet!

Based on the results obtained, 3 pilot actions for women’s capacity building and career development will be promoted, together with their respective regional clusters, in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Baltic basins, as well as a set of other dissemination tools and actions applicable to the blue economy sectors in other regions, including non-European ones, aiming to leverage the importance of women in this economic sector to civil society and particularly to younger populations.

The results obtained will also allow for the publication of several reports of societal relevance, and the development of policy recommendations for integration into regional, sectoral and European equity plans, seeking to positively influence the gender equity of this sector in the EU and the alignment of public policies with UN SDG5 (Sustainable Development Goal 5).

Funded by the CINEA (The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency) of the EU with almost 1.5 million euros, the project will officially start in May on the European Maritime Day of 2023, celebrated in Brest, France. The consortium kick-off meeting is scheduled for June in Aveiro.