By Kenneth Jukpor
The President, Women in Maritime Africa (WIMAfrica) Nigeria Chapter, Hajia Bola Muse has called for gender equality as part of efforts to ensure sustainable economic growth in the nation, stressing that equal participation of women and men has been proven to guarantee national development across the world.
Muse made the plea during a programme to commemorate the International Women’s Day (IWD) with a theme : “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights” with the campaign theme #Each for Equal, in Lagos on yesterday.
According to her, “Women rights are human rights” which means women are entitled to all of these rights but yet women and girls are still denied of their rights everywhere around the world.
Muse said that prioritizing rights of women goes beyond giving them opportunities as it also involves changing laws and policies, winning hearts and minds and investment in strong women’s organisations and ensuring equality.
“We want every woman and girl to realise the rights that are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we also stand for other rights that are vital for women’s equality.
She lamented that some of the principles for inequities are embedded in the deep-rooted cultural norms and beliefs in the African societies while inequalities can also be addressed by policies and laws that promote women’s economic empowerment.
“According to the World Bank, gender equality matters as an instrument for development as it enhances economic efficiency and improves other development outcomes in ways such as removal of barriers that prevent women from having the same access as men to education, economic opportunities and productive inputs resulting in broad productivity gains,” Muse said.
Also speaking, the Continental President, WIMAfrica, Mrs. Jean-Chiazor Anishere, expressed delight at the level of support from the Federal Government and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on the global celebration of the IWD 2020.
She said that WIMAfrica was established in Luanda, Angola on 25th March 2015 with the response to the request made by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) during her inauguration speech while WIMAfrica came in place in 2017.
In 1995, the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women adopted a resolution regarding the empowerment and advancement of women around the world which they set out strategic objective to achieve gender equality in 12 areas including the economy, violence against women, women in power and women in the environment.
She said that 25 years ago international women had been championing the voice for women and men equal right.
Chiazor-Anishere commended the effort of Muse for making tremendous efforts in lifting other women entrepreneurs, even as she appreciated Mrs. Chinwe Ezenwa, Mrs Folake George, Mrs. Vicky Hasstrup, Mrs. Olawumi Dada, Mrs. Rollen Macfoy and other women who had been championing the course of promoting and supporting women empowerment.
In a goodwill message, Hajia Hariratu Mohammed, General Manager, Servicom of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), representing the Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, encouraged the students at the gathering to be focused and dedicated.
Bala-Usman urged the students and graduates at the event to always work hard adding that it would not be possible for them to get things on a platter of gold but through hard work which would enable them to achieve more success.
In her goodwill message, the Chairman, Seaport, Terminal Association of Nigeria (STOAN) Mrs Vicky Hasstrup, commended the efforts of WIMAfrica and assured students and jobs seekers (Female) Engineers at the events automatic employment into ENL Consultium in commemoration of 2020 IWD celebration.
Hasstrup advised the younger female to seek knowledge and experience to enable them compete with their counterparts in the various discipline they had chosen in life.
“Anybody that want to be successful in life should be focused and determined because I was not brought up with a slivers spoons but see what I have become now. I usually followed my mummy to farm during holidays barefooted from age-five, after that I studied in England for many years.
“Before I became the Chairman of ENL Consortium, one of the terminal operators; I had worked in many Oil and Gas and logistics companies to gather experience before setting up logistics maritime business. I am appealing to all women and female youths to make determination their watchdog because it will lead them to success,” Hasstrup said.
The President, Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) Nigeria, Mrs. Folake George urged the students not to relent in their effort to broaden their knowledge which would make them relevant in their profession.
Soji-George advised them to strive for knowledge throughout their lives to enable them understand the theoretical and practical aspects of their respective disciplines.
The occasion was graced by women in maritime, entrepreneurs, universities students as we as female students from over five secondary school in Lagos.