Published on Australian Maritime Safety Authority (


Why develop a Gender Equity Action Plan at AMSA?

The intention to develop this plan was announced to all staff in March 2021, shortly after the Women’s March 4 Justice Rally in Canberra, which followed allegations of sexual assault in Parliament House.

At the time, Chief Executive, Mick Kinley, said that the Executive had agreed to tackle gender equity as a priority issue, and announced that AMSA would develop a plan focused specifically on gender, to supplement our Diversity & Inclusion Plan. This followed on from discussions with AMSA’s broader leadership team where women spoke about their experiences working with AMSA and industry.

A Gender Equity Working Group was formed to develop the Gender Equity Action Plan. The Group developed a staff survey to identify issues and possible solutions, which was released in 2021. The Gender Equity Working Group and the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group then initiated a series of workshops between December 2021 – March 2022 to look at the industry we operate in, our current policies and strategies and how we build and support our staff.

Staff identified several compelling areas of concern:

Key take outs from the survey and workshops were that our people want:

These combined efforts helped form the basis of a gender equitable vision for AMSA and informed the development of the Action Plan.

The commitment to change

Historically, the maritime industry and workforce has not reflected the diversity of society and has not provided equal opportunities for everyone, particularly along gender identities. Internally, we recognise there is work to do to ensure AMSA is a gender equitable employer, and we are committed to being a leading example for industry.

How will AMSA maintain accountability?

The Gender Equity Action Plan is deliberately focused on what matters most to take AMSA towards a more gender equitable future. Within the plan are measures which tell us whether something is making a material difference, so we will know if we need to re-prioritise our resources and time towards actions that are more effective.

We recognise the need to measure this progress and report on it transparently and to learn from these actions.

In addition, the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework used throughout the plan, focuses on impact rather than process, and provides a structure to manage progress. We will apply the framework to share ideas and actions across different AMSA teams, provide accountability and time-bound actions and to place limits and boundaries on our ideas and actions to keep them practical and achievable.

Operationalising AMSA’s Gender Equity Action Plan


Leadership is the starting point for any commitment to change. The Gender Equity Action Plan emphasises leadership first to drive momentum and set direction for policy, work design and to normalise and role model the expectations across all AMSA teams.

Organisational ‘norming’

This is about the ability to create change through cohesion. Here it can be achieved through the design of deliberate policy, strategies and techniques that support and promote gender equity. Examples might include: job design with flexible roles and descriptions; establishing formal coaching and communication techniques to support positive behaviours; or designing objective performance measures.

Emphasis on action and experiments

We may not get things right the first time. But we are building an environment where we have set our intentions, are able to focus on where we are heading and can learn what works for us (including from other organisations and industries) and what doesn’t.

Change management

Planned, resourced and responsible change management is required achieve impact. The change management aspect of the Gender Equity Action Plan will help to reinforce and draw on existing initiatives at AMSA. Implementation briefs will be developed, which outline the resources required, who is accountable and timeframes to implement. Communications will further support people to understand our goals, and how to support change.

A gender equitable vision at AMSA

Our vision extends beyond our people, to our stakeholders, and the wider maritime industry.

AMSA is an employer of choice because it is an equitable and diverse organisation. This is reflected in all our professional conduct, how people balance their work and life commitments, and are part of a cohesive, inclusive and collaborative workplace free of bias. Our people are encouraged and supported to pursue promotions and other career pathways.

Our increasing progress towards gender equity drives better outcomes and strategic value for our operations, industry and community. Valuing a broader range of experience and capabilities means AMSA has access to a larger pool of talent to find the best people for the job. A positive and inclusive culture means a better working environment and higher performing teams.

An ongoing and transparent dialogue about gender equity is apparent at all divisional levels within AMSA. Our leaders make sure everyone feels welcome, ensuring people have a voice in forums and that diverse perspectives are valued in decision making.

AMSA is a role model for gender equity for the maritime industry and community and actively works to change perceptions of gender by challenging stereotypes, implementing inclusive policies and using gender-neutral terms and language.

Supporting seafaring to be a safe environment. AMSA will address industry and challenge inappropriate actions. Within AMSA, we will protect everyone’s psychological and physical safety by making sure AMSA is a safe place for staff to speak out.