The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA),Nigeria and the Women in Maritime (WIMA) Nigeria are collaborating for the first time to mark the inaugural edition of the International Day for the Women in Maritime instituted by International Maritime Organisation(IMO) to celebrate women in the industry’
According to the IMO, the initiative is intended to promote the recruitment, retention and sustain employment of women in the maritime sector as well as raise the profile of women in maritime, strengthen IMO’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is gender equality and support work to address the current gender imbalance in the sector.
The event is billed to take place on Wednesday,18th at the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) conference centre in Lagos. Expectations are high among the women who desire a level playing field for all in the maritime industry.
For the President of WIMA, Mrs. Rollen Macfoy what women need is proper recognition and placement. “This is what we need, recognition and proper placement.
Macfoy noted that there are some things that needed to be done, but have not been done as women empowerment is concerned. Is NIMASA not capable of speaking to Ship owners in Nigeria to the effect that every Ship in Nigeria must carry at least one woman that is a Seafarer. If they come up with that, even if all the Ship owners would not comply, if we have 3,000 ships in Nigeria and 2,000 comply, we have gone very far. That is a success,” she stated.
Macfoy decried the attitude where a woman is discriminated against in certain issues.“ when it comes to project bidding, they shouldn’t look at women and feel they cannot do a particular job. They should look at your qualification and your ability to defend that job at the point of selection or at the point of interview, she said.
She further said that in the selection of Directors and all other positions at offices, women should be given a chance; noting that women overtime have evolved.
Speaking on the inaugural event, President WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke said ,“For WISTA Nigeria, this is a landmark recognition by the IMO for women in the maritime industry. It is the international proverbial voice of power speaking loud and clear on the need to focus on breaking the gender barriers, focus on training and giving visibility to women in the maritime industry.
An elated president of WISTA lauded the organizers of the Women Day in Maritime and noted that the theme for the event is very apt.
“The theme for this year 2022 which is”Training,Visibility and Recognition: Supporting a Barrier-Free Working Environment” being celebrated for the first time is apt, because there is an urgent need to recognize the vast contributions of women in the sector and encourage them by creating an enabling environment for the women. There is need for women to participate in decision making without hindrances” she said.
Ezeoke added, “The march for women in the maritime industry is to focus on the move from office routine work to the boardroom without failure. The UN’s SDG number 5 is the target.”
As the world gather to celebrate women on this special day, it is the belief and hope of many stakeholders that the women should take advantage of this opening to launch themselves into reckoning and deconstruct the chauvinistic view that women may not excel in certain responsibilities.
In celebrating the women, a maritime security expert, Captain Alfred Oniye expressed joy that women are coming up in the industry, but it is painful that the industry has not been able to take advantage of the potentials of women in the sector.
“It’s just that the industry is not ready for them. Even those who are competent, who are well certified, have not gotten jobs” he said. Continuing, the seasoned seafarer said, “There is no shipping industry that is even ready to accommodate them. And I must tell you that when you have women on board, some of them are better than men.
Captain Alfred corroborated that women according to reports are molested and harassed on board vessels. He said the allegation is true and that explains partly why some shipping companies don’t like to accommodate them.
This inaugural event co- hosted by WIMA and WISTA, promises to attract the change-makers in the maritime industry. The event theme which is “Maritime Security Issues and Blue Economy” will showcase Nigerian maritime Amazons, gurus, and global front liners engage in very rewarding and educative deliveries aimed at addressing the myriads of maritime security challenges and opportunities, numerous untapped potentials in the sector. Speakers at the event include, Mrs. Grace Obiozor, former Acting CEO of NSC, the President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke, the President of WIMA Nigeria, Mrs. Rollens Macfoy; the founder of African Maritime Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI), Dr. Felicia Mogo, Captain Amitbhandari, amongst others.
In his massage to the inaugural IMO International Day for Women in Maritime, IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim, called on all to “let’s work to break down barriers and ensure that we create a work environment that is enabling, supportive and inclusive of all diverse participation by all without hindrance in the maritime community” he said.