The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, has advised young females to pursue careers in shipping, marine operations and the engineering sub-sector.
Bala-Usman gave the advice in a press statement issued on Wednesday by Mr Adams Jatto, NPA’s General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communications.
It was while presenting a paper titled: “Improving the Participation of Women in the Ports” at the just concluded 3rd World Maritime University Conference, with the theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”.
The managing director urged nations with maritime endowments to fund specialised institutions and provide incentives for girls to pursue courses in shipping, maritime and engineering.
“Women who have broken through barriers in this sector must institute mentoring system that will encourage other young ladies to take careers and create a pipeline for succession in the maritime sector.
“Government agencies and private sector’s investors must also be deliberate about increasing the tally of women in the sector,” she said.
Bala-Usman said: Last year for instance, Tin-Can Island Terminal, one of our terminals recruited the first set of female crane operators in Nigeria,
“We have assured all stakeholders of our readiness to.partner with them on this front.”
Bala-Usman noted that “women were the most disadvantaged in the world” and women were important in terms of nation building.
She advocated the establishment of a “network or an association in every industry” which could provide a platform for women “to share experinces, encourage each other and battle their challenges with one voice”.
The managing director whose paper dwelt extensively on women position and gender diversity in work places globally, stressed the need for gender equality as a critical tool in nation building.
She said that there was the need to check the problem of “gender imbalance” which cuts across almost all professional spheres.
On the theme of her paper, Bala-Usman emphasised the need to encourage young girls to take interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The managing director enumerated several initiatives put in place by the management of NPA to encourage and motivate women in the course of their career in the authority.
She noted that these initatives include areas of maternity leave and entitlements, as well as the establishment of a creche facility at the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC).