The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, has urged women in the maritime industry to use competence to attain key positions and stop begging to seek preferential treatment based on gender.
Speaking at this year’s World Maritime Day celebration with the theme, “Empowering Women in Maritime Industry”, Ameachi described women as “the most intelligent animal created by God”, stating that women can excel in any field of human of endeavour as much as their male counterparts.
He said, “I don’t agree with you on the idea of gender because the struggle is not peculiar to Nigeria alone. It is everywhere in the world. Women get appointment because they merit the appointment. Women should take power by themselves in a radical manner.
“I have female friends who are very educated. One is Amina Muhammed who was a Special Adviser to the former Secretary-General of the United Nations. It was when the President visited the United States and saw Amina that he was impressed with her and made her a Minister. Amina got to where she is today because she has a vision and wouldn’t listen to distractions. Life is about courage.
“So I will urge women in the maritime to stop begging because it is your entitlement. Women can manipulate men to sign what they would not want to sign. Women are more brilliant.”
Ameachi urged successful women in the industry to support government to lift other less privileged women out of poverty.
“We should learn how to lift people out of poverty. If China can take about 800 million out of 1.5 billion population out of poverty, Nigeria can also set that agenda by lifting people out of poverty,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, called for increased scholarship and mentorship to boost female participation in the shipping sector.
She said 26 cadets, which represents 10.2 per cent of the total number of cadets studying at Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron are not enough.
While citing examples of where women participation in shipping has increased, the minister urged Nigeria to learn from China.
According to her, before its advancement in technology, China had only one percent of female participation in shipping, which has increased to 28 per cent with increase in technology.
Saraki, however, called for increased funding by government and mentoring by successful women to help empower younger women in the industry.