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WISTA Nigeria celebrates 25years, seeks more female participation in maritime


L-R: Mrs Funke Agbor SAN; Mrs Mfon Usoro; President WISTA Nigeria, Mrs Mary Hamman, and First President of WISTA Nigeria, Madam Funmi Folorunsho

On its annual business luncheon and twenty fifth anniversary
celebration, the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA)
Nigeria still want more awareness to encourage young women to take up study and
careers in the maritime industry.

The celebration event themed “Balancing
the Gender Gap in Maritime Participation” held on Tuesday at the Oriental Hotel
in Lagos.

Launching the WISTA Nigeria magazine
In her opening remarks, President
of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Mary Hamman, expressed satisfaction with the association’s
initiative of empowering women fishing groups at the grassroots level.

WISTA recently donated a fishing
boat to a community women fishing group in Enugu State, done in collaboration
with the state government to support maritime trade.

Hamman, who is also the director
of shipping promotion at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),
said the association also strategized to carryout outreaches to create
awareness and encourage young people, particularly the girls, on the
opportunities available in the maritime industry.

Speaking also, the Chairman of
the occasion, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun, commended WISTA for its efforts at
empowering women’s fishing groups at the level they are doing.

He noted that WISTA had actually
created a foundation for encouraging sustainable people- building in growing
awareness as well as small businesses in the fishing sub-sector.

His words: “I am always
encouraged reading everything you are doing empowering women in fishing as well
as educating young girls.

“You may think it is a small
thing, but the women are playing the role of care-giving for families.”

Ogbeifun, however, said that
women had been playing significant roles as industry captains including
managing affairs at the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian Chamber of
Shipping, and in the private sector including those in terminal operations.
On a panel discussion analyzing the
need to balance the gender gap in the maritime industry, President of WISTA
Ghana, Mrs. Jemilat Mahamah, said the core still remained the creation of
awareness to encourage younger generation of women to take up careers in the
maritime industry.

She added that women tend to be
more committed to home chores, while the maritime industry demand much commitment
also. But that better knowledge of the demands can help the women fair better.

Moderator of the panel
discussion, Mrs Funke Agbor, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, supported Mrs. Mahamah
saying: “We need to expose younger women to careers in shipping. I came into
shipping by chance. But, early and better exposure to what it requires will be

Supporting the need for creating
level-playing grounds for all gender, Chairperson, Sealink Implementation
Committee, Mrs. Dabney Shall-Holma, said: “We need to educate girls on global requirements
in the industry, even if funding for education becomes necessary.”

She, however, noted that anybody
who desires a position must work to earn it, as nobody would vacate a position
for another to come and take with ease.

Maritime lawyer, Mr. Emeka
Akabogu, while delivering a paper on balancing the gender gap, highlighted the
need and importance of understanding what the gap is, as problem solving
requires identifying the elements of a problem.
He noted that a holistic approach
to bridging a gap, if there were any in the maritime industry, would need
knowing the numbers; how many women are operating as shipowners, freight
forwarders, ship chandlers, besides being seafarers.

He argued that it would be faulty
to base conclusions on only the number of women seafarers: “If there is any
seriousness about gender balancing, it will be interesting to know what the
figures are in freight forwarding, ship-owning, chandeling, terminal
operations and managing. What is this gap we are talking about?”

Goodwill messages were given by  representatives of all the parastals under the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

The WISTA Nigeria magazine was launched.

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