The initiative was part of the Ghana Maritime Week celebration which is in line with the International Maritime Organization theme of empowering women in maritime industry.
According to Jemilat Jawulah Mahamah, President of WISTA Ghana, the women that are currently working in the shipping industry aspire to attract younger minds in the sector, bringing a new generation of women in shipping, enabling girls to take careers in the sector, acknowledging the increased participation of women within the industry.
Jemilat Jawulah Mahamah highlighted that
We want to encourage as many of them as possible to join the industry. There are so many opportunities in the industry, there are so many jobs. Previously, what was known was shipping agents, or clearing agents. But there is more. We have maritime lawyers, marine insurers, we have chattered ship brokers, marine administrators, and marine engineers
The President further added that parents and wards should put aside superstitions that prevent women from pursuing certain careers that have been male-dominated throughout history.
Moreover, Felicity Ankoma-Sey, Dean of the Faculty of Maritime Studies at the Regional Maritime University, pinpointed various courses of study available for the younger generation of women, encouraging girls to take up opportunities at the Regional Maritime University.
On her side, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Sylvia Asana Dauda Owu, addressed any concerns of harassment towards women seafarers and maritime professionals. She also expressed her belief in international laws that can protect women who intend to take up careers in the sector and further encouraged young girls to bridge the evident gender gap within the maritime industry.
Forget about the harassment. There are laws that will protect a woman on board the vessel. Shipping has advanced so a lot of things are changing to encourage more women on board.
Similarly, Hadiza Bala Usman, the Managing Director at Nigerian Ports Authority has previously commented that 'women are most disadvantaged in the world' and emphasized on the need to encourage young girls to take interest in Science and Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) so they can pursue careers in shipping, marine, operations and engineering sub-sector and advised that nations with maritime endowments should fund specialized institutions and provide incentives for girls to take courses in these areas.
In July, the IMO published a new film, showing how IMO's Women in Maritime programme is helping to support gender diversity in the maritime sector. As the video says, women are proving that, in today's world, the maritime industries are for everyone. 'It's not about your gender, it's about what you can do.'