Empowering women ensures more prosperous maritime sector, community says President WIMAfrica


President of WIMAfrica, Jean Chiazor Anishere
One sure way to achieving a prosperous maritime sector is enabling women build capacities to get access to opportunities that abound in various careers in the sector.

President of the African Women In Maritime (WIMAFRICA), Barrister Jean Chiazor Anishere, made that assertion in her goodwill message on the occasion of the World Maritime Day celebration 2019, which took place at the Eko Hotels and Suites on Thursday.
Represented on the occasion by Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa, a former Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chiazor Anishere said the day’s celebration provided an “opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality and to highlight the important contribution of women all over the world, to the maritime sector. “

“The ideal also aims to foster cooperation and collaboration between national, regional and international organizations, advance African women in the maritime sector, as well as maintain mainstream participation of African Women in all aspects of the Blue Economy, including policy advocacy and maritime awareness.”

The WIMAfrica President noted that women empowerment grants women opportunities to take charge of their lives and be very confident of who they are, knowing well that they able to make valuable contributions to discourses and operations that grow the economy.

She, however, bemoaned the fact that the maritime and allied industries were still male-dominated, while very little recognition is granted to the much contributions by women in the sector.

“The maritime and related industries continue to be one of the most male- dominated sectors, including seafarers, fishermen, port operators, surveyors, port state control officers and government officials.

“The under-representation of women in the maritime industry has not significantly changed over the past 25 years. In 1992, the number of women seafarers was estimated to 1-2% of the total seafaring workforce, while the latest 2015 manpower report from BIMCO/ICS indicates that only 1% of seafarers are women.

“In seafood harvesting, the numbers and employment conditions of women are usually well behind that of men. Indeed, stereotyping and discrimination against maritime women persist. They affect working conditions, equal access to education and training, as well as career opportunities.

She made reference to a latest report by the World Information Centre that women were only two percent of the world's 1.2 million seafarers working in the industry, and blamed the factors to include among others, “discouragement from families and society, absence of relevant educators and organizations to encourage them through trainings and fear of being bullied or sexually harassed by male-counterparts.”  

However, the encouragement according to her, is that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has been making a concerted effort to help the industry move forward and support women to achieve a representation that is in keeping with twenty-first century expectations.

She recounted some of the efforts by the IMO in combating gender inequality to include “Supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women through gender specific fellowships; Facilitating access to high-level technical training for women in the maritime sector in developing countries; Creating the environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes; Facilitating the establishment of professional women in maritime associations, particularly in developing countries.”
           
On that note, she called on women to also rise up to the responsibility of taking charge by empowering one another to enable women play transformative and ambitious roles in understanding, exploring, protecting and sustainably managing our oceans.

Recognising women as role models for nation-building in various spheres, Chiazor Anishere encouraged the girl-child education, mentoring and granting of equal access to opportunities for participation and growth, both in maritime sector and other walks of life.