Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman has reiterated that â€œwomen are most disadvantage in the worldâ€ and the world must constantly remind itself that women matters when it comes to nations building.
She therefore advocated for the establishment of a â€œnetwork or association in every industryâ€ which should provide a platform for women â€œto share experiences, encourage each other and battle their challenges with one voiceâ€.
Hadiza was speaking while presenting a paper entitled â€œImproving the Participation of Women in the Portsâ€ at the just concluded 3rd World Maritime University Conference, with the theme â€œEmpowering Women in the Maritime Communityâ€.
The Managing Director whose paper dwelled extensively on women position and gender diversity in work places globally, stressed the need for gender equality as a critical tool in nationâ€™s building, so as to check the problem of â€œgender imbalanceâ€ which cuts across almost all professional spheres.
On the theme of her paper, Hadiza emphasized the need to encourage young girls to take interest in Science and Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) so they can pursue careers in shipping, marine, operations and engineering sub-sector and advised that nations with maritime endowments should fund specialised institutions and provide incentives for girls to take courses in these areas.
â€œWomen who have broken through the barriers in this sector must institute a mentoring system that encourages young ladies to take careers and create a
pipeline for succession in the maritime sectorâ€ she added.
Hadiza also advocated that government agencies and private sectors investors must also be deliberate about increasing the tally of women in the sector, explaining that â€œlast year for instance, TCIT, one of our Terminal Operators recruited the first set of female crane operators in Nigeria. We have assured all stakeholders of our readiness to partner with them on this frontâ€.
The Managing Director enumerated several initiatives put in place by the NPA Management to encourage and motivate women in the course of their career in the Authority. These initiatives she said, include the areas of maternity leave and entitlements, as well as the establishments of a crÃ¨che facility at the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC). There must be a network or association in every industry which should provide a platform for women to share experiences, encourage each other and battle their challenges with one voice, she concluded.
Engr. Jatto. A.ADAMS
General Manager (Corporate & Strategic Communications)