The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman has applauded the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for initiating “ON BOARD WITH GENDER EQUALITY’’ campaign for this year’s Seafarers Day Celebration, just as the First Lady, Dr. Aisha Buhari called for increase in women participation in the Nation’s Maritime Sector.
According the Managing Director with such a programme in place, NIMASA is striving to ensure a gender equality balance in the nation’s maritime Industry.
Speaking through the Executive Director, Marine and Operations of the Authority, Dr. Sekonte Davis at this Seafarer’s Day Celebration, hosted by NIMASA, Hadiza Bala Usman regretted that although gender imbalance is a global problem in the Labor market, “The worst example of this phenomenon exist in the Maritime Community where records from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) indicates that a disheartening 2℅ of the workforce are women”.
The Managing Director also acknowledged the fact that the problem is not limited to Africa alone but also continental due to traditional and religious practices which exclude women from certain career opportunities, saying that “we should go past these sentiments and give our citizens irrespective of gender the best opportunities that life offers them”, she encouraged young girls to take interest in Science, Technology subjects to enable them pursue career in Shipping Marine and Operations etc.
Hadiza Bala Usman told seafarers that NPA now grant women maternity leave 16 weeks as against 12 weeks while nursing mothers are also allowed to report to duty one hour after official resumption time and closes one hour before closing as part of encouraging Women. NPA had also commissioned a Crèche Facility for nursing mothers. In her words “we must constantly remind ourselves that women matter and that when we build women, we build humanity”