The Annual Business Luncheon of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA, Nigeria), was held on Thursday the 8th of July, the program aimed at projecting women in various parts of Nigeria to develop and empower women across Nigeria.
Dr Magdalene Ajani who represented the Minister of Transportation Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi, with the theme “The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA): Investment Opportunities for Women in Trade is currently being hosted at the Ballroom, Oriental Hotel Lekki, Victoria Island Lagos was also inducted as one of its honourable members.
In her induction speech she first mentioned how honoured she was to be in granted the opportunity to grace the event and how men have been the prominent figure in controlling programmes like this, she said “It is my great pleasure and honour to be part of this occasion of the Business Luncheon and Magazine Launch of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), on the theme “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement: Investment Opportunities for Women in Trade”. I am aware that this annual event provides a veritable platform for knowledge sharing and professional capacity development for women in the maritime sector.
“It is common knowledge that the maritime industry has historically been a male-dominated career. The explanation is quite obvious; in the past and even now, maritime jobs onboard vessels and in the port environment required physical strength. Therefore, society prohibited women from participating in the industry, especially at the operational level. According to the International Maritime Organization, women represent only two per cent of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers. Women are also poorly represented in other areas of the maritime industry including port management, ship management/ownership, marine engineering, among others”.
“In order to minimize the existing gender participatory gap in the maritime sector, many countries including Nigeria have keyed into the strategic gender programme of International Maritime Organization, geared towards enhancing the participation and contribution of women as key maritime stakeholders. As we confront the challenges posed by COVID-19 Pandemics, it is important to give women the opportunity to play an effective leadership role in the rebuilding/recovery efforts in the maritime and trade sectors”.
She then concluded by saying that women should use the leverage opportunity to develop skills and how the government is strongly backing their efforts “Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is important for Nigerian women to leverage the opportunities provided by the new Trade Agreement with a view to enhancing their participation and expanding their frontiers in the maritime industry/trade sector. I, therefore, wish to emphasize the need for coordinated capacity development for women to achieve a continuous improvement in their career progression and productivity level in the maritime/transport logistics industry. The focus should be on enhancing their technical skills to enable them to participate effectively in the domestic and regional value chains while taking advantage of the opportunities offered by global value chains.
“It is instructive to note that the Federal Ministry of Transportation has embarked on developing an all-encompassing and all-inclusive National Maritime Transport Policy that will stand the test of time and foster a robust maritime industry that will guarantee sustainable socio-economic development of the country. The policy which seeks to actualize the implementation of a seamless, safe and secure inter-modal transport system in Nigeria also promotes equal participation of women in the maritime industry.
I wish to enjoin WISTA to complement Government’s efforts towards fostering a robust, all-inclusive and gender-balanced maritime industry by promoting women’s access to maritime education and training as well as encouraging talented young females to work in the maritime industry. I will also like to commend WISTA for its commitment to tackling gender bias and mentoring a new generation of female employees in the maritime industry, over the years. However, in view of the new era of modernization and inclusion in the industry, there is room for improvement.
I enjoin you all to use this opportunity, in view of challenges posed by COVID-19 Pandemic, to brainstorm and come up with innovative ideas that will enhance women’s involvement in the successful repositioning of the maritime and transport logistics industry for better performance and improved productivity.
Thank you and God bless”.