The Women In Maritime Africa (WIMA) Nigeria chapter has joined the rest of the world in celebrating the 2022 International Women’s Day (IWD) with the theme : Gender Equality Today For Sustainable Tomorrow” # Break The Bias.
The event commemoration was held at the Rockview hotel in Apapa Lagos.
Speaking at the event , the president of WIMA Nigeria, Mrs Rollens Macfoy encouraged younger women to embrace opportunities in the Maritime Sector.
Mrs Macfoy stress the need to educate the young women and implore them to come and be trained to know where they can fit in the industry.
According to Macfoy, there are various arms in which they can operate. “They can be crew managers as an administrator, the cooking profession earns so much onboard the vessels, those that like trading can be ship chandlers. There is no end to professionalism in this maritime sector” she said.
She hinted that the maritime sector controls 90 per cent of the world economy and there is need for men and women to work together to push the blue economy to achieve a green economy.
She added that there is no barrier in professionalism, noting that the maritime sector is large and can accommodate everyone.
Making reference to some of the professional women operating in the sector , she said “We also have a female captain of vessels, so many women have become maritime lawyers, the bias has been broken and today there is nothing that stops a woman from becoming fulfilled professionally and as a woman in the home,” Mrs Macfoy said.
Delivering a lecture on “Empowerment and Job Opportunities in the Maritime Industry’, the Secretary-General of Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control, Captain Sunday Umoren urged women in Nigeria to harness emerging opportunities in the maritime sector such as investing in ocean freight, warehousing, ocean shipping logistics, trucking, sales, freight forwarding, air freight, rail and terminals.
Captain Umoren hinted that there is a shortage of women in the shipping industry, which has a significant effect on the economy and reiterated that the maritime industry is a major driver of the national economy with huge opportunities for women in the sector.
He said that the economic impact created by the sector is vast and competitive. Which he pointed out to includes job creation, attracting foreign investments, supporting allied industries and creating cosmopolitan cities.
“The shipping industry offers hundreds of different types of jobs. There is surely a job that will suit your skills and allow you to excel as you build your career. The maritime sector has a direct, indirect and induced impact on the economy of a nation,” he said.
He also urged the women to harness future opportunities in the sector ranging from, a knowledge-based era on the platform of modern technology, environmentally friendly shipping, untapped potential both concerning making shipping greener and by developing new and employing known technology across the ocean space.
Earlier in her goodwill message, the immediate past Continental President of WIMAfrica, Mrs Jean Chiazor Anishere, (SAN) ,said that women are the source of life, the pillar of the family and foundation of the society cum the fountain of economic, political, social, and cultural development.
Mrs Anishere who was represented at the event by Barrister Oluwakemi Awoniyi, stated that gender equality is a right and fulfilling this right is the best chance we have in meeting some of the most pressing challenges of our time-from economic crisis and lack of health care, to climate change, violence against women and escalating conflicts.
She added that women are not only more affected by these problems, but also possess ideas and leadership to solve them. “The gender discrimination still holding too many women back, holds our world back too.
“Therefore, as Women in Maritime and Sea Port sector grouped in “African Women in Maritime” (WIMAAFRICA/ WIMANIGERIA), we shall always continue to strive for better economy and as it concerns women, for gender equality.
“We shall let our professionalism and hard work come to bear, in order to encourage the younger ones, the girl child and our future leaders, not to relent in good and hard work which make the society a better place for all to live in” she quipped.
Also, former Director-General of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Akerele, stressed the need to have more female groups working in unity to challenge the women to tap into the opportunities available in the marine world, which is perceived as the male-dominated industry.
She expressed satisfaction that the female folks are beginning to venture into the maritime industry, adding that in the nearest future there will be equality.
Highlight of the event was the participation of different secondary school in quiz and debates competition on maritime related issues.
The president, Mrs Rollens Macfoy however caused an uproar at the event when she announced her intention of purchasing JAMB form for the fifteen (15) SS3 student Present at the event.