APM Terminals Apapa prides itself as a multinational organisation that offers equal employment and growth opportunities to people irrespective of gender. In this interview, one of company’s female crane operators, Augustina Omodele, shares her experience working at Nigeria’s largest container terminal.
Can you kindly introduce yourself?
My name is Omodele Augustina. I am a reach stacker operator. I have been in APM Terminals Apapa for some years now – I started as a terminal truck operator and thereafter was trained as a reach stacker operator. This is my sixth month as a reach stacker operator.
What do inclusion, equity, and diversity mean to you?
How I understand diversity is having people from different backgrounds working in an organisation. You, as an individual, would have to understand everybody’s character and behaviour in order to achieve an enabling work environment.
Do you think your ideas matter in the workplace?
I believe my ideas and opinions to a very large extent matter as a female. There were times my female colleagues who are also operators, at meetings expressed their opinions or observations, and APM Terminals implemented these suggestions and ideas.
How does it feel working in the port, which is a traditionally male-dominated environment?
I feel happy working in such a diverse workplace. I actually fell in love with APM Terminals before I got here and went through social media, and I discovered they have females working in the terminals. I decided to also be a part of this history. I applied because I enjoy taking up challenges and I have admiration for the shipping industry. I relish engaging in male-related activities as a result of my previous training/work experience as an automobile technician. I enjoy doing what men can do as well. I feel psychologically safe on the job, I approach and deal with my co-employees based on their uniqueness and distinctiveness.
Do you have the opportunities and resources to succeed in your job as your male counterparts?
APM Terminals does not allow impartiality. Equal rights, opportunities as well as resources are available to both genders. When it comes to discipline, it is all the same. When you come to the terminal truck unit, there are females there; you see females everywhere, even at the security post. It is only the shift managers that we don’t have females – yet!
The theme of the 2022 International Women’s Day is break the bias. How is this important in the workplace?
It is very important to break the bias so the female folks would not be intimidated in the workplace. It would enhance equal grounds for the female gender to grow to the reality of their dreams career-wise.
Women are currently assuming more challenging roles at the terminal. What are thoughts on it?
I am always happy when managerial positions are given to females. It excites me when APM Terminals organises a prize-giving day and women are called out among their male colleagues as the best in their units of operations. There was a day my supervisor told me that the way I was handling the machine was better than how some of my male colleagues handled theirs. I am always happy when females are given kudos or the opportunity to take charge of certain responsibilities.
The opportunity APM Terminals has given to the female folks to come onboard to showcase what they have is impressive. APM Terminals has always been an equal opportunities organisation. So, you don’t expect any preferential treatment based on gender from your supervisor or superintendent.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.