Captain Caleb Danladi Bako, Master Mariner and Maritime Expert/Researcher in this interview with FEMI ADI speaks on the Maritime sector , how to improve women participation and significance of the an annual and international Seafarers Day coordinated by the international maritime organisation ( IMO). Excerpts:
Are women carried along in the Maritime Sector especially in executive offices?
Shipping has historically been a male dominated Industry . We have over 1.2 million seafarers world wide and out of 1.2 million only 2 percent of the world’s maritime workforce is made up of women , creating a need for the shipping community to bridge this gender gap. Lots of efforts have been made to help the industry move from traditional and help women achieve a representation that is in line with twenty first century expectation. There are women in shipping related activities that are making great strides in the industry. A few number of women are seafarers, Maritime lawyers, ship owners and ship handlers. The number is very low when compare with other industries.
What impact will it have on the Nigerian economy with women participation in the Maritime Sector ?
Women participation in Maritime sector will have a huge impact on Nations Economy, first of all is time to change the statistics of women in maritime work force. This will lead to economic development. Secondly, Labour force participation (ratio of female-male) will increase which will lead to increase in productivity. Thirdly , Nigeria will close a gap of gender index performance. encouraging women to undertake seafaring and maritime related career is essential for reducing poverty and unemployment.
This year’s theme is: I Am On Board with gender equality. What is the Maritime experts want to achieve at the end of the campaign?
June 25th is the day of seafarers , an annual an international event day coordinated by the international maritime organisation ( IMO). This day recognises the unique roles of seafarers in the global economy. seafarers are always on the forefront of maritime transportation. We have over 1.2 million seafarers worldwide who makes the world trade possible, our daily lives are comfortable today ,because of seafarers.
The International maritime organization (IMO) designated 25th June as a way to recognize that every thing we use in our daily lives has been directly and indirectly affected by seafarers. The purpose of this day is to thank seafarers for their contribution to the global economy and to acknowledge the they take while at sea. This year then is “I am onboard with gender equality”. Which links to 2019 World Maritime Day theme” empowering women in the maritime community “. It is clear that this theme will provide an opportunity to highlight the opportunities for women In a wide range of Maritime careers and profession.
How can Women be empowered in the Maritime Community?
Women can be empowered in maritime community by removing structural barrier (traditional way of shipping), building good networks and support quality education to ensure no woman, no girl is left behind in maritime sector. also creating a platform which I believe is already in existence primarily to see how professionals can interact with the younger ones to present and opportunity for them to consider aviation and shipping as they make their career plan and also to encourage them to build up their future in both aviation and shipping and to support them.
Forums like aviation and maritime open days should be encouraged . There should be a need in changes in attitude towards employing women in both aviation and maritime sector in particular. Increased training opportunities for women should be encourage. Mentoring, coaching and counseling is important. organisations, unions and companies need to set the ground and provide/create a greater awareness to people generally and specifically the male seafarers towards acceptance of females onboard the ship.
What opportunities women have in the Maritime Sector?
There are huge opportunities for women in maritime industry given that the maritime industry has a well documented skills gap . Opportunity for women exist in the following sectors, seafaring, maritime lawyers, maritime pilots, port agencies, ship owners, charterers, Marine consultants, Marine Surveyors, Maritime education and training among others.
Looking at the latest statistics, where women represent only 2 percent of world seafarers ,where 94 percent of them are in cruise industry. A lot of effort is required to make the industry move forward and support women to achieve a greater representation.
What is responsible for the apathy on side of women and your advise is done to improve the number female seafarers in Nigeria?
Historically, seafaring has been a male dominated industry. In the past years, the number of female seafarers has increased. Some of these reasons include lack of awareness and information. Institutions should have policies that will help women to have a better understanding of maritime career
Another reason is social cultural and practical obstacle. Many women are not allowed to pursue seagoing career because of long stay. Finding a balance between demands of work and family has been a common issue. Staying away from family and friends for so long is not easy for women as well as men. Being on-board for several months might not satisfy the social role of a woman, making it not a very attractive field for women at sea: findings reveals that
Lack of workshops and seminars ,where young women exchange their views with experienced women seafarers and to help them develop a strong presence in maritime sector.
What is your advice to Nigerians especially women that want to venture into the Maritime Sector?
My advice is for the federal government, Maritime community and stalk holders in Maritime sector is to support everything that would give women a role in Maritime sector. The theme for 2019 World Maritime day focus on women empowerment. This will provide an opportunity to raise awareness on the important of gender equality, in line with the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDG) and to highlight the importance contribution of women to the maritime sector. I think strong female role models can help shift the maritime industry and make it a more viable career option for many women by sharing their experiences.