Minister advocates gender mainstreaming in maritime sector
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has said the Federal Government is currently driving the vision of creating a credible platform for women in the maritime sector to network and forge stronger partnerships. She added that the current administration, coupled with other initiatives, has created a positive and conducive programming environment for the overall promotion and protection of women’s rights, reduction in the prevalence of discrimination against women, increased investments in children and women’s development issues. She said this during the yearly business luncheon 2019 of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) themed, “Balancing Gender Gap in Maritime Participation.”
Tallen, however, said that low levels of technical expertise or basic knowledge of gender mainstreaming across sectors is a persistent challenge that demands for concerted action. “Gender mainstreaming represents an attempt by gender advocates to build on the successes of the past and address some of the challenges. Mainstreaming gender equality is a commitment to ensure that women’s, as well as men’s concerns and experiences, are integral to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all legislations, policies and programmes so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.
“Therefore, balancing gender gap in the maritime sector connotes that there is inequality in opportunities and need to be rectified. It would require a pool of well educated and professional women who are well equipped with the basic leadership skills and ICT knowhow. It requires that from the onset young girls receive quality education to prepare them to make the rightful choices in life; especially in careers in maritime,” she added.
Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, urged women in maritime to collectively aspired and work towards balancing gender gap. Bala-Usman added that gender balancing would enable women to get fair advancement that is commensurate with their qualifications and experience.
“When a woman is empowered, you are invariably empowering a whole generation that will benefit from the quality of leadership that is exceptional and unique to women.“Emphasis should be laid on innovation and enabling women to discover themselves, build personal and corporate brands identity that differentiate them in society. This will boost their visibility and promote them to leadership roles,” Bala-Usman said.
She stressed that women are not asking for equality in terms of power with men but are earnestly calling for equal opportunities to express their innate qualities and abilities. Bala-Usman said that there was evidence to show that institutions with more women leaders have better performance and achieve higher economic growth.
President, WISTA, Mary Hamman said women can now work remotely in this computer age and this can boost participation in the sector.On the 25 years of WISTA, she said the growth was not without an evaluation as its members have done so much though there’s more to be done to harness potentials in the industry.
Taking the lead presentation, Emeka Akabogu, said the gap is pegged between one or two percent with significant number of female service as hotel support in ships.
Akabogu charged women to be ready for challenges that come with equal opportunities.“Women should not be expected to be helped by lowering the standards. Women should be ready to work. It will be unreasonable for women to complain of inequalities if the readiness is not there. “Personal development is key and women should be represented in decision making. Statistics should be updated regularly, mentorship programmes for women and girls and equal employment opportunities will foster equality in the sector,” he added.