The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, on Tuesday in a virtual meeting to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD) upheld mentorship of more women professionals as path to sustaining active participation of women in Nigeria’s maritime sector.
Delivering the central paper of the day titled “Women in Leadership: Effective Mentoring in Shipping,” the Vice Chairman, ENL Consortium Ltd., Princess Vicky Haastrup, highlighted the importance of mentorship for more female professionals in the nation’s maritime sector.
Raising points on why women professionals must be mentored , particularly in the male-dominated industry of the maritime, Haastrup said that developing a culture of having women give back to other women through mentorship would close the gaps in expertise in future.
Her words: “As women, we must rise up to our challenges in the country and the whole world, reposition ourselves, and challenge that stumbling blocks that are limiting us from progressing.
“We need to mentor ourselves which comes with great responsibility and wisdom so that we do not leave vacuum in the shipping industry already dominated by men.
“Despite these challenges, women are rising and breaking the glass ceiling, driving each other and this requires creativity, innovation, professionalism and ability to get what they want.”
She spoke on the importance of leaders offering mentorship talent pool, create proficient people for the work, help women occupy prominent spaces in the economy, bridge gaps and retain internal expertise.
She also listed some characteristics of women leaders as being more transformational, not being afraid, function as a role model, provide succor for people, applying soft touch and emphasising team work.
While encouraging top women in the maritime sector to be mentors, she stressed that mentors must be kind, considerate and patient, because mentees vary in their intellectual ability and could be slow in learning.
Hasastrup also used the opportunity to encourage women to learn to brand themselves and share their skills as it would help them to become very fulfilled and enriched in life.
In her speech, the Managing Director of Ocean Deep Services Ltd., Mrs. Rollens Macfoy, said it was important to have mentorship for women professionals to enable increased representation of women in the sector as they currently have just two per cent representation in the sector.
She urged women to build careers in the shipping industry which would further move the percentage forward such as; freight forwarding, vessel registry, seafaring, maritime law, ship owners, shipping agent, divers and others.
“Mentorship is an experience that helps one to guide people to a state of equilibrium or professionalism and so if you are made, you need to learn to pick up,” she said.
Earlier, the President of WISTA-Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke said that women had come a long way in shipping but there was more to be done, hence, the need for mentoring.
She noted that since the glass ceiling was giving way, the tempo should be sustained through mentorship, which means as one woman is climbing along, she should pull a sister along.
“We need to make our voices heard in the place where decision making takes place. So, women should push forward,” she said.