The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, has canvassed more women participation in the shipping sector to reduce the gender gap in the industry.
Although she acknowledged that there has been improvement in the level of women participation in the sector as against what obtained a decade ago, she said there was still need for improvement, especially in seafaring and freight forwarding.
Haastrup this known while being conferred an award as the Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria Personality of the Year.
“For example, in freight forwarding sub-sector and seafaring, we don’t have too many women. So, we want to see more participation in that aspect. If we have more women, that part of the sector will be better modernised because people always have more confidence in women and the industry will be better for it.
“Those of us who have been in the industry should encourage the younger women and support them within the area we operate. Some of them don’t have the financial capacity to operate. That is one of the ways we can encourage them.
“I am happy with the level of participation because the awareness is there and people are getting sensitised about the importance of women participation in the sector. We are getting there, but we are not there yet,” she said.
In her goodwill message, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, also urged more women to participate in the sector.
Usman, who was represented by the General Manager, Managing Director’s office, Dr Chinwe Abama, said that pursuing gender balance would enable women get fair advancement that is commensurate with their qualifications and experience.
Bala-Usman said women were not asking for equality in terms of power with men but that they were calling for equal opportunities as they are endowed with special qualities, adding that institutions with more women leaders have better performance and achieve higher economic growth.
“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 by enabling women discover themselves, build personal and corporate brands, identity that differentiate them in society, making them not only unique and authentic but visible to rise into the role of leadership and influential position,”Bala-Usman said.
Earlier in her address, the President of WISTA Nigeria, Mary Hamman, urged women to come out of their shells.
She said most aspects of shipping have been computerised, so they could stay in their homes and participate in the industry.
Maritime lawyer, Emeka Akabogu, in his lead paper, noted that while there is gender gap in the industry, women who aspire to take up leadership positions must be willing to face the challenges that would come with equal opportunities with their male counterparts.
Source: The Nation