The Honourable Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki would on Thursday address stakeholders in the maritime sector on “Fair Future for Female Seafarers.”
A statement signed by the President of the Female Seafarers Association of Nigeria (FESAN), Ms Koni DUniya said the Minister would be presenting the keynote address at a webinar organised by the group to commemorate the International Day of the Seafarer.
Themed: “Fair Future for Female Seafarers”, the event would hold virtually on July 15, 2021 at 10am.
Speakers include Captain Sunday Umoren- Secretary-General of the Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (MoU); Captain Blessing Edidiong Abalo- First Female Master Mariner; and Mr Henry Agbodjan-the Human Resources Manager, Nigerian Ship Management Limited (NSML) amongst others.
According to Duniya, the event is one of the organisation’s contributions towards addressing the disproportionate representation of females’ onboard vessels in Nigeria.
She said that the theme for the event which tallies with the international theme is aimed at addressing questions of gender biases which, stem from stereotypes displacing the female gender in the Maritime Industry and the Seafaring profession.
“Most employers are not aware that there are female seafarers who are qualified and ready to work. Our expectation is for them to acknowledge our existence as females starting a career in this (maritime) industry. You can imagine going to school to obtain certificates and the certificates expire because you can’t get a job as a result of your gender.
“We want an end to that and the deplorable onboard working conditions as well. We want improvement in that area. When you get to the schools, you see that most of the girls do well in classes. So, if they can do well in class that means they can do well at work”, Duniya said.
She stated that even though employee commitment to work differs from person to person, the few companies who employed female seafarers have testified that majority of them performed their jobs with as much professional expertise as their male counterparts.
“It is important to know that male or female, when you employ a set of employees, the approach and commitment to work differs. Overtime, you see that female employee works with as much professionalism 100 per cent of the time. Some people would come to work and they are disconnected from the work while some people work like their lives depend on the work.
“Part of what we do as an organisation is to mentor females such that when one person gets a job, we expect that she performs so well that her employers come looking for one of the other sisters that don’t have a job. We keep encouraging them that “hard work is the way out”, she said.
Duniya mentioned that FESAN is partnering with the Women in Maritime Journalism (WIMAJ) to push for the development of policies that encourage females who have chosen to work in the maritime industry.