The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, has urged the Maritime Women Association to coordinate and integrate their efforts toward engendering better positioning and development of the port industry.
Saraki gave the advice during a stakeholder meeting with the association on Friday in Lagos.
She also stressed the importance of more women’s inclusiveness in the maritime profession for balanced representation and to further develop the industry.
“In other for us to seek more funds both in and outside the industry and for maritime men to take us seriously, we need to come under one umbrella.
“The same thing happened in the United States where all the women’s bodies formed one umbrella which has made them stronger.
“We may have parallel bodies that will be powerful and be interfacing with the government which will help in achieving the set goals.
“Please consider this request for the betterment of the maritime women to enable them to speak with one voice,” Saraki said.
Mrs Eunice Ezeoke, President, Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, commended the minister for her unrelenting efforts in ensuring that there was a level playing ground for gender equality in the maritime sector.
Ezeoke urged for the elevation of women in top administrative positions in the sector and charged women to participate in decision-making processes that impact the sector.
Also, the President of Women in Logistics and Transport, Mrs Khadijat Shabi-Sheidu, appealed to the minister to use her office to enable the female maritime practitioners to easily access loans with low interest.
President, Women in Maritime Africa (WIMAfrica), Mrs Rollens Macfoy, said the WIMAfrica, championed the cause of the blue economy, maritime security and good welfare for seafarers.
Macfoy said that since the establishment of the association in 2015, the association had sponsored cadets as well as seafarers on international studies.
She called for support to enable them to train more women professionals in the different disciplines in the maritime sector to enable them to compete in the men-dominated industry.
A Former Continental President of WIMAfrica, Mrs Jean Anishere, noted the ability of the former Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Ameachi, to harmonise all Nigerian Ship Owners Association together to interface with the government.
She said the collaboration was easier for ship owners because they were not international bodies adding that it could be difficult for women in maritime as they had international bodies.
The President of the Nigerian Maritime Lawyers Association (NMLA), Mrs Funke Agbor, advocated the need for women to be relevant in the decision-making in the maritime industry.
Agbor called for more understanding among women adding that there was a need to have more qualified maritime women under the set umbrella organisation. nan.