The symposium on the “Relevance of Women in Maritime Education and Training” held at the Regional Maritime University in Accra, Ghana, was a significant event that addressed the need to enhance women’s participation in the maritime industry. The symposium was organized as part of the university’s 65years of existence and 40 years of its regionalization. It provided a platform for stakeholders in the maritime sector to discuss prospects in women’s involvement in maritime service and challenges accompanying such services.
Vice Chancellor presenting citation to Captain Georgia Jopap
The symposium featured insightful discussions and deliberations from experts, industry leaders, and advocated for gender equality in the Maritime industry. Some of the key highlights of the event include:
Ms. Gertrude Ohene-Asienim, the President of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association, Ghana Chapter, delivered an inspiring address. She emphasized that women have the capacity to contribute significantly to the growth of the maritime industry and the nation at large.
Ms. Gertrude Ohene-Asienim addressing the symposium
The symposium recognized the existing challenges within the Maritime industry, including the perception of it as a male-dominated and conservative field. Participants acknowledged that while progress has been made in empowering women in the sector, much more work needs to be done.
One of the prominent discussions revolved around the need for scholarships and funding specifically reserved for women pursuing maritime education, especially in technical areas like Marine Engineering and Nautical Sciences. It was emphasized that the high cost of specialized maritime education can be a barrier for women but awarding them scholarships would facilitate their entry into these fields.
The symposium underlined the economic benefits of gender equality in the maritime industry. Evidence from various sources was presented to highlight the positive correlation between gender diversity and economic growth.
Speakers stressed the importance of women supporting each other throughout their careers. The idea of women in leadership positions actively helping other aspiring women was encouraged to promote a more inclusive and supportive industrial environment.
Dr. Jethro W. Brooks, Acting Vice Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University, reiterated the institution’s commitment to addressing gender disparities within the maritime workforce. He pointed out that while women represent only 2% of the global seafaring community, the university has taken proactive steps to train female seafarers, with notable progress in recent years.
Ag. V.C. Dr. Brooks also highlighted the university’s scholarship fund initiative aimed at increasing female participation in the maritime industry. He called upon parents and guardians to encourage their daughters to explore opportunities in the sector, emphasizing the transformative potential of female participation.
As the maritime industry moves towards greater diversity and inclusivity, the symposium served as a catalyst for change. It reinforced the commitment of industry leaders and educational institutions to look into gender imbalances and create a more equitable future for women in the maritime sector.
Citations were awarded to several remarkable women who have excelled in the maritime industry, including Capt. Georgia Jopap, Ms. Janet Houghman-Addy, Mrs. Esther Gyebi-Donkor, Ms. Benoita Bismarck, Mrs. Anita Soatuo Kontuo, and Ms. Gertrude Ohene-Asienim. They were recognized for their outstanding contributions as women seafarers, serving as inspirational role models for women and driving positive change in the field.
REGIONAL MARITIME UNIVERSITY WITH AWARDEES
Information Source: Marketing Unit, RMU, 11th October, 2023.