• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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NCS pushes for increased women’s participation in maritime business

NCS pushes for increased women’s participation in maritime business

Nigeria’s blue economy potential will not be realised without the active participation of women in the maritime sector especially at the managerial level, Aminu Umar, president of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS), has said.

Speaking in Lagos at NCS’ event to mark the 2024 International Day for Women in Maritime themed: ‘Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety,’ Umar said the event not only celebrates the contributions of women in the maritime sector but envisions a future where women play integral roles in shaping maritime safety.

Represented by Jean Chiazor Anishere, a Governing Board member of NCS, Umar said doing so will ensure the industry is safe, more inclusive, innovative and resilient.

Earlier, Vivian Chimezie-Azubuike, director general of NCS, said the programme is the third organised by NCS to address issues of inclusion, equity and diversity to ensure women thrive in the maritime industry.

Pointing out that Nigeria’s population demographics is 41 percent women and 59 percent men, she said having equity in the work ladder can help to grow the economy.

Read also: FG targets N2trn annual revenue from Blue economy sector by 2027

On her part, Ify Akerele, vice president of the NCS, said the Chamber was founded to lead advocacy and drive affirmative in the maritime industry.

Beyond discussing the issues of inclusion, she advised the NCS to set up a steering committee responsible for discussing further and putting together a white paper that would be taken to the National Assembly to push for a policy that covers the recommendations.

Also speaking, Abdulkadir Ahmed, managing director of NLNG Shipping and Marine Services Limited (NSML), said Nigeria needs to address biases, create an inclusive work environment, invest in women’s education, support mentorship and advocate for policies that encourage inclusion.

Pointing out that the maritime industry was developed from the perspective of men, Ahmed said the government can set up policies that ensure zero tolerance for sexual harassment onboard the vessel.

He also called on employers of labour to come up with contracts that are gender sensitive to encourage mothers to serve onboard vessels and at the same time be able to be with their families.

Also, Elpi Petraki, president of WISTA International, said the IMO Day for Women in Maritime should be a platform to strategise for increased women participation across all facets of the maritime sector.

According to her, the challenges confronting women in the industry are similar across frontiers and national boundaries as gender balance remains a global setback.

“Only 29 percent of the global maritime workforce are women, but the statistics dropped to 24 percent for women engaged in maritime administrations. Sadly, in seafaring, the ratio is less than 2 percent for women and this profession has over 1.8 million people,” she said.

She, however, encouraged Nigerian women to participate in the ongoing IMO/ WISTA maritime survey to get up-to-date representation in the sector and promote women’s inclusion in the maritime sector.

Sharing experience, Edidiong Sola-Abalo, a female ship captain, said female seafarers experience gender bias from employers, unequal remuneration with their male counterparts and are sexually harassed onboard ships.

She called for policies that would encourage more women to go onboard vessels, end discrimination and bridge the gap in remuneration.