The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman has called on stakeholders in the maritime sector to include more women in professional services.
A statement by the NPA’s General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, A.A. Jatto, quoted Mrs Bala-Usaman as making the call during a conference of women in Africa, WIMA-Nigeria which took place in Lagos.
According to Mrs Bala-Usman, doing so would erase the ‘unfair’ balance in the sector, just as she disclosed that a “disheartening 2% of the workforce are women”.
The statement said the managing director noted that in line with the sustainable development goals, SDGs, there was need for inclusiveness and gender equality as a way of achieving the best for the world.
The Managing Director decried the influence of traditional and religious practices which exclude women from certain career opportunities, thus shutting out the girl child from being involved in Ports operations.
“There should be concerted efforts at ensuring that more women get into professions in maritime sector and remain there with the prospect that they would attain the management cadre,” Mrs Bala-Usman emphasised.
On the way forward, the managing director advocated that young girls should be encouraged to take interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, subjects in order to pursue career in Shipping, Marine, Operations and Engineering Sub-Sectors.
She called for the establishment of specialized institutions and the provision of incentives/scholarships for girls while insisting that a mentoring system would invariably impact on the number of girls who enter the Marine Sector.
Mrs Bala-Usman reminded stakeholders that it was imperative to ensure good working conditions for women in the sector, saying: “we must also ensure working conditions that encourage the retention of women at work”.
“In essence, women in the NPA are allowed to resume one hour later and close one hour earlier than the official closing time 12months after delivering. Moreover, the status of the woman does not determine her enjoying this privilege,” the MD pointed out.
Furthermore, Mrs Bala-Usman advocated that more platforms be provided for, whilst engendering togetherness and unison in the purpose of speaking with one voice.
She concluded her submission by insisting that for efficient Port operations and raise the bar in productivity, there was a need for human capacity development across the board