The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Dame Pauline Tallen highlighted on Tuesday that the most effective approach towards balancing the gender gap in maritime participation is to ensure qualitative priority education of the girl child, particularly in terms of equal opportunities at the developmental level.
The Minister stated this in Lagos at the Oriental Hotel, while speaking on the theme: ‘Balancing the Gender Gap in Maritime Participation’, an event organized by Women in International Shipping and Trade Association (WISTA), to mark WISTA’s 25 year anniversary.
“This explains my priority focus on girl-child education as the fulcrum for balancing the gender gap in the society.
“And to achieve this, we are collaborating with the Ministry of Education to promote enrolment, retention and completion rate of girls in schools at all levels”- Dame Pauline Tallen who was represented by Mrs Anna Akpan, said.
Founded by Mrs Grace Obiozor, WISTA also unveiled it’s first ever magazine, a development which Pauline noted and lauded, saying that Women operating in the nation’s maritime industry may become the bedrock on which genders equality in Nigeria may one day, lean on.
Chief Executive Officer of STARZs GROUP, Engr. Greg Utonwen Ogbeifun
“It is heartwarming to note that the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association, Nigeria, is driving the vision of creating a credible platform for women in this sector to network and forge stronger partnerships.
“For this, I salute the leadership of the organization and encourage you to sustain the momentum.
“The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.Therefore, balancing gender gap in the maritime sector, connotes that there is inequality in opportunities and need to be rectified”.
“It requires that from the onset young girls receive quality education to prepare them to make the rightful choices in life; especially in careers in maritime”, the Minister further indicated.
In her contribution, the Managing Director, Nigerian Port Authority, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, who was represented by Dr. Chinwe Abama urged women in maritime to collectively aspire and pursue a vision of working towards balancing gender gap.
Bala Usman said that pursuing gender balancing would enable women to get fair advancement that commensurates with their qualifications and experience.
“When a woman is empowered, you are invariably empowering a whole generation that will benefit from the quality of leadership that is exceptional and unique to women.
“The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as ensuring in SDG (4,5,8,.10) aim for inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting life long learning opportunities for all; Gender quality and empowerment of women and girls; Decent work and economic growth; Reducing inequality in the lives of women.
Mrs Anna Akpan representing the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Dame Pauline Tallen
“Emphasis should be laid on innovation by enabling women discover themselves, build personal and corporate brands, identity that differentiate them in society making them not only unique and authentic but visible to rise into role of leadership and influential position,” Bala-Usman said.
She maintained that women were not asking for equality in terms of power with men but are earnestly calling for equal opportunities, adding that women were special gift from the unfathomable unknown and are greatly endowed with special qualities.
Bala-Usman further argued that there was evidence to show that institutions with more women leaders have better performance and achieve higher economic growth.
Speaking in the same vein, Mrs Funmi Folorunsho, who was the first president of the association, encouraged the women to keep up with their good works so that in 25 years to come, they will be celebrated more and not rubbished.
Personality of the year award was presented to Dr. Princess Vicky Haastrup.
While the Award of Outstanding Support and Contributions were given to NPA, NIMASA, NSC and NIWA.
Speaking also at the event, the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of STARZs GROUP, Engr. Greg Utonwen Ogbeifun praised women operations and activities in the maritime industry, noting that they were already taking over the maritime sector.
He identified with, the positive activities of the Minister of State Transportation, Dr. Gbemi Saraki; the STOAN Chairperson, Princess Vicky Haastrup; the NPA boss, Hadiza Bala Usman; as well as the STARZs GROUP Chieftain, Iroghama Obuoforibo.
Modinat Eniodunmo and Funke Fagbenro