On Wednesday, May 18th, 2022, the world will mark the inaugural annual celebration of International Day for Women in Maritime.
With this new yearly event, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has taken a bold step towards addressing male chauvinism and gender discrimination among seafarers, especially onboard vessels.
Although women represent 49.58 percent of world population according to StatisticsTimes with the World Gender Ratio rated 101.68 males per 100 females; only 1.2% percent of the global seafarers workforce are women as per the BIMCO/ICS 2021 Seafarer Workforce Report.
This, however, represents a positive trend in gender balance, with the BIMCO/ICS report estimating 24,059 women serving as seafarers, which is a 45.8% increase compared with the 2015 report.
Amid the low number of females practicing in the maritime sector, these women are also subjected to bullying and other forms of harassment.
Despite the widely publicized need to eliminate gender discrimination, a recent study by a Swedish University revealed that more than 50 percent of all women seafarers have been subjected to bullying.
Meanwhile, the truth is that females are coming up and showing that they are indefatigable across various subsets of shipping. As top-notch professionals, these women are more aware of the things they can achieve and they are resolved to conquer the challenges.
The IMO has also observed that there is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support.
As the world marks the International Day for Women in Maritime, Nigerian women in Maritime wouldn’t be left out as the leading women groups; Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria and Women in Maritime (WIMA) Nigeria are collaborating to host a strategic conference on Wednesday at the headquarters of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in Lagos.
The event themed “Maritime Security Issues and Blue Economy”, will see Nigerian maritime amazons and global shipping experts share insightful teachings on addressing maritime security challenges and harnessing the numerous potentials.
Bigwigs to speak at the event include; a former Acting CEO of NSC, Mrs Grace Obiozor; the President of WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke; President of WIMA-Nigeria, Mrs. Rollens Macfoy; the Founder, African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI), Dr. Felicia Mogo; Capt. Amitbhandari; among others.
The IMO has encouraged all stakeholders to engage in events and activities around its theme: “Training-Visibility-Recognition: Supporting a barrier-free working environment”. However, WISTA Nigeria and WIMA-Nigeria haven’t just chosen to do that, but they will also be tackling core Nigerian maritime problems via the summit on Wednesday.