IWD 2020: For #EachforEqual theme, WISTA Nigeria wants inclusivity for rural women, next generation

President WISTA Nigeria, Eunice Ezeoke

For the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, at the heart of the #2020InternationalWomensDay celebration is the need to bear women in rural areas along in all that means equal opportunity to be a valuable part of the whole.

In that light, the women in some coastal community in Osun State, would be empowered similar to what WISTA had done for some communities in Anambra, Enugu states, as well as Edo State and the marine community of Epe in Lagos State, WISTA President, Eunice Ezeoke , shared in a chat.

WISTA is also set for a sustained support in scholarships for female cadets who have distinguished themselves academically at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom.

Female cadets who were done with done with coursework, have also enjoyed placements on board vessels for their seatime training, courtesy of WISTA.

Another big plan for the president to ensure that the association strengthens the other branches in other states.

Ezeoke’s task to every woman in maritime is to ensure that they add value to the building blocks shaping the industry. The story, she said, is for women are privileged to be in management positions to be much more than earlier women who made sacrifices and gave their contributions.

She said: “Women who have been privileged to rise to management positions in maritime industry have paid some price, because it has not been easy at all in a male-dominated industry that is also time consuming.

“It means that people before us paid some price, so the onus lies on us to also pave the way, make some sacrifices for the future generation. It keeps getting better because our voice is getting stringer and making more impact.”

Speaking on the recognition accorded WISTA due to value expressed, Ezeoke added that “For instance, in WISTA Intl’ and WISTA Nigeria, we have moved in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) from observer-status to a consultative status. It is a milestone because we have been accorded a sitting position in the IMO.”

The recognition of the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman, as the first woman to occupy that office means more women can attain the same position. But, they must have valuable contributions from opportunities they have, Ezeoke noted.

The big dream, which is very much achievable, according to the WISTA Nigeria President, is to have women own fleets of vessels, tankers and occupy the vacant positions in offshore of the oil and gas industry.

Since UNCTAD has recognised the contributions of Nigerian women in the maritime industry, thus making it grant training opportunities to the women, WISTA Nigeria has planned on making the best use of the opportunities, even as it would work towards owning its own secretariat.