By Godwin Orirse
The Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Commodore Duja Effedua (rtd), has called for sanctions, including jail-terms for operators who discriminate against or abuse female workforce on board ships in Nigeria.
He also charged ship-owners to employ more females in their workforce in line with the theme of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2019 Day of the Seafarers which states, “On-board with gender equality”.
Speaking to Maritime journalists on the sidelines of the event organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos, the MAN rector explained that the academy is on-board with gender equality.
He stated: “Anybody that believes that men are still intellectually superior to their female counterparts is still living in the past. We have seen female pilots, Generals, Admirals, Air Vice Marshals. We have seen female Captains commanding very large merchant ships. These should be role models to the younger females that we have now.”On my own part, I am on-board with gender equality. I have always encouraged it at the academy.
In our last admission, 29 female cadets applied for admission, and we took 28 out of the 29 that applied. The only one that was not taken was down to her medical condition. In the process of admission, we did not lower the bar just to get them in. The girls were academically sound. They were not inferior to their male counterparts.
“They have been there for about eight months now and they are doing quite fine.”I will advise ship-owners to consider more women in the new design of ships they are acquiring. Even old ships could be re-fleeted to accommodate for more females accommodation on-board.
“The issue of sexual harassment against female workers on-board vessels should attract jail-terms. I don’t think it’s fair or right to abuse women in whatever form.”