WISTA Nigeria President, Mary Hamman, urges women to key into opportunities in maritime industry



President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Mary Madu Hamman
President of Women’s International Shipping  and Trading Association(WISTA), Mrs. Mary Madu Hamman, who is also the Director of Shipping Promotion at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) declares in this interview that she is #On board with gender equality, on the 2019 ‘Day of the Seafarer’ being celebrated today globally.
She calls on women to make themselves available for the opportunities in the industry by ensuring that they seek information appropriately, stay on course with what they set out to achieve and appreciate the fact that challenges could come, but it is only the ‘tough’ who keeps going that records success. 

What are the opportunities like for women in maritime in Nigeria?
There are lots of opportunities for women in the maritime industry, also opportunities for women in other sectors like engineering, administration, law; that is, maritime lawyers, chandelling, marine engineering, professional seafaring, as well as instructors among others.
With the awareness being created lately by NIMASA, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, and the opportunities offered by the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme(NSDP) of NIMASA, many girls have participated in training locally and internationally, and they have also received job offers at home and abroad.


How well have the women keyed into the available opportunities?  Importantly too,  what obvious or seeming challenges are they faced with?

The major challenge faced by girls is discrimination by some of the employers who are skeptical about having female seafarers on board their vessels, while frustrating those who have managed to be on board.


How remarkable will it be,  if necessary,  for  women to use team platforms to further establish their presence and impact in the maritime industry in Nigeria? 

Professional women groups in the maritime sector have a critical role to play in the area of mentoring and pushing for the best interest of ladies in the sector. It will be great if there are more professional groups like Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association(WISTA), Women In Maritime Africa(WIMA), Women in Logistics and Transport(WiLAT) that will respect one another’s views  and contributions to move the industry forward collectively, because we have women who have what it takes to move the world together.
For WISTA, its mission is to get the women in the industry to together and move the world forward, giving a helping hand and networking. It is also important to note that the maritime industry is international. Our goals therefore, must endeavor to get on the global scene training, and this is what the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) offers.
As far back as 1988, few maritime institutes opened their doors to female students. However, with the intervention of the IMO policies and procedures, IMO came up with resolutions to ensure access to maritime training and empowerment opportunities for women in the maritime sector, thus birthing the Women in Maritime programme, which is over 30 years strong.
Since 2008, IMO supports gender equality and empowerment through gender-specific fellowships and technical trainings. The ladies are advised to go to the IMO website (www.imo.org) to seek for more information on fellowships supported by the IMO in various areas of maritime.
The IMO has supported female graduates through the following institutions:

v The World Maritime University(WMU)
v International Maritime Law Institute
v International Maritime Safety , Security and Environment

  Gender-specific fellowships

·          Galilee International Management Institute(GIMI) Nahalal, Israel
·          L’Institut Portuaire d’Enseignement et de Recherche(IPER), France
·    Courses delivered in partnership with International Association of Marine Aids to   Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities(IALA), IALA, WWA France


A word of advice/encouragement for female cadets and other young girls who desire to pursue a career in the maritime industry

Women all over the world are succeeding in this sector, and there is no reason why you cannot excel with focus and determination.
My advice to the girls who desire to pursue a career in the maritime industry is that they should ensure they excel in their different fields of studies, be firm and unstoppable when faced with challenges. I believe they will achieve any goal they set their minds on.