Challenges facing African women in maritime highlighted

Hadiza Bala Usman, NPA Managing Director

Africa’s Blue Economy, job opportunities, mentorship, marine environmental protection and addressing gender-based violence, topped agenda of the 9th regional conference of the Association of Women Managers in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (WOMES) recently held in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Under the theme “Opportunities and challenges facing African women in advancing the maritime sector”, some 60 participants from the region discussed and exchanged ideas on the empowerment of women in the African maritime sector.

IMO’s Helen Buni, leader of the IMO gender programme, reiterated how promoting women’s access to quality employment and senior management level within the maritime sector is a key priority. IMO continues to support the participation of women in both shore-based and sea-going posts, in line with the goals outlined under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

One of the main objectives of the IMO strategy is to give much- needed visibility to women. “If they can’t be seen they can’t be applauded –and they can’t be seen as a resource” Mrs. Buni said.

She also highlighted the fact that next year’s World Maritime Day theme “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community” will give additional impetus to all the Associations to raise awareness of their activities.

The event concluded with a series of concrete actions, such as the creation of national chapter for Madagascar, which will bring the number of national chapters to ten. The election of a new Governing Council. A pledge to organize beach clean-ups every year around African Day of Seas and Oceans was also adopted.

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