In the joint celebration of the 2020 International Women’s Day, the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) together with females from other organizations in the maritime industry has collaborated on discussing bridging the gap in gender-related issue in the country.
While speaking at the event tagged “I am Generation Equal” stakeholders said that capacity development programmes and other self-improvement routines for females would close the gap of gender inequality in the nation’s maritime industry.
Addressing participants in her welcome address, the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu, said that although women have contributed to the growth of the sector, more females need to professionally distinguish themselves if equality for all at the workplace would be realized.
She said there was room for women to be outstanding and to hold leadership positions in the industry but that this can only be gotten through hard work and self-development.
Citing examples from the NPA administration led by Hadiza Bala-Usman, Olotu said the contributions of the management in realizing gender equality is glaring and impressive.
She said the first female General Manager Marine and Operations in the 64-year history of NPA was appointed at the watch of Bala-Usman as well as many other females who today hold various responsibilities in the port industry.
Olotu, who noted the importance of the #EachforEqual advocacy, also called on stakeholders to emulate the NPA management and give female professionals a chance, as their contributions will advance the sector.
“We should collectively place premium in the discharge of our duties, give prompt responses to our duty demands, even as little as responding to mails. It goes a long way to defining your professionalism.
“The beautiful thing is that, give a task to a woman, she does it in a unique way, she pays attention to details and she is stylish even in the discharge of her duty. She is creative. Like today, we gave awards to cleaners, past port managers, maritime amazons.
“I was very pleased to also see that staff working with me planned an award for me too. It only goes to show the beauty of encouraging and celebrating one another.
“We are challenging women out there to go out, rule your world and conquer; make diamonds out of your charcoal, because diamonds are made out of clusters of charcoal that stay out of sight for a long time. Whatever challenges we may have been facing for a long, we should manage them properly and at the end of the day come out the best,” he said.
Addressing participants at the event, the Chairperson of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Vicky Haastrup said women have the innate gift and strength to balance work and family and should appreciate themselves and not be intimidated.
Specifically, she said: “Women are celebrated because we are carriers of so much grace. Women have so much potential as wives, as mothers and professionals in different fields. Women are able to manage businesses in spite of her job or owner of businesses. Women must know that gender is not an obstacle to perform to recognizable levels on duties.”
Representatives of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Women in Logistics and Transport (WILAT), Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA Nigeria), WILMA, and other professionals, who took turns to speak, also told women to prioritise education as this is vitally to their growth through the ranks in the industry.