Senior female practitioners in the maritime sector have identified capacity development programmes and other self-improvement routines as critical for women to close the gender gap in the nation’s maritime sector.
The practitioners stated this at an event put together by the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) Apapa in Lagos on Monday to mark the 2020 International’s Women Day with the theme ‘I am Generation Equal’.
Addressing participants in her welcome address, Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Mrs Olufunmilayo Olotu, noted that although women have contributed to the growth of the sector; more females need to professionally distinguish themselves if equality for all at the workplace would be realized.
She said there is room for women to be outstanding and to hold leadership positions in the industry but noted that this can only be gotten through hard work and self-development.
Citing examples from the Nigerian Ports Authority administration led by Hadiza Bala Usman, Olotu said the contributions of the management in realizing gender equality are glaring and impressive.
She said the first female General Manager, Marine and Operations in the 64 year history of NPA was appointed by Usman as well as many other females who today hold various positions in the port industry.
Olotu who noted the importance of the #EachforEqual advocacy also called on stakeholders to emulate the NPA management and give female professionals a chance, as their contributions will advance the sector.
She said “We should collectively place premium in the discharge of our duties, give prompt responses to our duty demands, even as little as responding to mails. It goes a long way to defining your professionalism.
“The beautiful thing is that, give a task to a woman, she does it in a unique way, she pays attention to details and she is stylish even in the discharge of her duty. She is creative. Like today, we gave awards to cleaners, past port managers, maritime amazons.
“I was very pleased to also see that staff working with me planned an award for me too. It only goes to show the beauty of encouraging and celebrating one another.
“We are challenging women out there to go out, rule your world and conquer; make diamonds out of your charcoal, because diamonds are made out of clusters of charcoal that stay out of sight for a long time.
“Whatever challenges we may have been facing for long, we should manage them properly and at the end of the day come out the best.”
Also speaking, Chairperson of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) Princess Vicky Haastrup, said women have the innate gifting and strength to balance work and family and should appreciate themselves and not be intimidated.
She said, “Women are celebrated because we are carriers of so much grace. Women have so much potential as wives, as mothers and professionals in different fields.
“Women are able to manage businesses in spite of her job or owner of businesses. Women must know that gender is not an obstacle to perform to recognizable levels on duties.”
Representatives of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency
(NIMASA), Women in Logistics and Transport (WILAT), Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria and others took turns to urge women to prioritise education as this is vital to their growth through the ranks in the industry.
Highpoint of the event was the recognition of women who have contributed to the industry as well as young corp members and staff of LPC for their dedication to work.