Haastrup bemoans gender gap in maritime industry as IMO advocates inclusion
Chairman, the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, has bemoaned the less than two per cent of women workforce in the country’s maritime industry.
Haastrup, while moderating a session which had the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Kitack Lim, at the Nigeria International Maritime Summit (NIMS) 2022 in Lagos, said the gender equality gap in the industry remains “very wide and unacceptable.”
The STOAN boss commended government agencies and private organisations for their effort to bridge the gap, but maintained that despite these efforts, “more work still needed to be done to give women their rightful place in the industry.”
She listed women’s underrepresentation, discrimination and lower pay, among other challenges, as some of the threats to gender equality in the maritime industry.
Her words: “I commend the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Women in Maritime programme initiated in 1988 to support gender equality and the empowerment of maritime women.
“Government agencies and private companies in the Nigerian maritime industry have also tried to develop various policies/initiatives including training, mentorship and networking opportunities to integrate more women into the sector, but it is still a long way to go.
The STOAN chairman said IMO’s gender programme, which provides gender-specific fellowships to women, promotes policies that ensure equity, and safe and decent working conditions for all who work in the sector.
She said the initiative also provides an environment where women are recognised and nominated for career development opportunities in maritime training institutes, ports and administrations.
In his response, the IMO Secretary-General said women’s inclusion in the world maritime has already caught momentum.
He said IMO recently appointed the first female Director in the organisation’s history, urging Nigeria to also do the same.
The IMO scribe threw his weight behind women’s inclusion in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary, of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, encouraged women to equip themselves with the necessary skills so that they could be competitive.
“Don’t just ask for the position because of your sex, but earn it by empowering yourself with the required skills and going all out there to get what you want. If you have the required capacity, it is going to be very difficult for people to just push you aside,” she said.