The Certified Institute of Shipping of Nigeria (CISN) has advocated for gender balance for productivity and profitability in organizations at its 2019 Annual Lecture, Investiture, Awards and Convocation ceremony.
The institute, which 20 years of existence coincides with the annual lecture and convocation also officially commissioned the ultra-modern Princess (Dr) Vicky Haastrup Multi-Purpose Auditorium.
In his paper on the theme of the ceremony "Gender Balance: Critical Resource and Leverage for Accelerated Growth In Nigeria's Maritime Transport Sector", the Rector of the Institute, Prof. Alex Okwuashi averred that gender imbalance accounts for retardation of organizations that have failed to recognize female diversity in workplace as a tool for improving productivity and profitability.
He stated that the place of highly skilled women in contributing to accelerated growth in the maritime transport sector can only be realized through deliberate policy change.
Okwuashi noted that though marine technology is a highly specialized field but some women have made inroad and blazed the trail as pathfinders.
According to him, notable among such women is the current President of the CISN, Princess (Dr) Vicky Haastrup, who doubles as the Vice Chairman of ENL Consortium and Chairman of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN).
The Rector commended her for her able leadership through which a lot of grounds have been broken to pave the way for many to follow in order to fulfil their life aspirations in the maritime transport sector in Nigeria.
Others who spoke at the event appealed to men to give women opportunities and stop discrimination against women.
They held that as women have domestic duties they combine with office work, this should be seen as strength and that women should be encouraged to give their best.
Women were also charged to buckle up and get to the top with determination and hard work.
They described cultural and traditional beliefs that women should not be involved in certain tasks as outdated and not in tune with the present day reality.
In his own contribution, the Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Commodore Duja Emma Effedua who was represented by the Academy's Director of Maritime Services, Mr. Gabriel Eto, held that the subjugation of women stems from chauvinism that has no rational basis because given the chance, women have proved their mettle in diverse areas of life.
He said that in Nigeria, gender inequality is mostly driven by cultural beliefs that are out of date.
Noting that women achievers abound in the maritime industry, who are celebrated, he still believes that a lot of sensitization about women's accomplishment and advocacy about women's capabilities and innate abilities need to be done to achieve gender parity in the workplace.
Earlier, in Investiture speech, Princess (Dr) Vicky Haastrup congratulated the fellows and graduands, charging them to be good ambassadors of the institute wherever they find themselves in life.
Her speech was read by the Chairman, Academic Advisory Board, Rear Admiral GSA Ombo (rtd).
The institute honoured six dignitaries with fellow while it graduated 420 students.
Out of the graduants, 11 are with B. Sc in Transport and Logistics Management, 23 with post graduate diploma in Maritime Transport while 96 graduated in Higher Professional Diploma in Maritime Transport.
The General Manager of ENL Consortium, Mr. Mark Wash represented Princess Haastrup who was said to be outside the country.
Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers’ Council and National Inland Waterways Authority were adequately represented among other dignitaries at the event.