We Believe in Gender Equality-Effedua
*We wont Lower Academic Benchmark
*Maritime Standards are Global and Competitive
The Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), is Nigeria’s foremost Maritime Training Institution established to train and develop the much needed maritime/Oil and Gas work force for the continuous sustenance of local and international shipping within and beyond the West African Sub Region.
As the world celebrates Seafarers in this year’s Day of the Seafarer with the theme “On Board With Gender Equality” The Rector of the Academy, Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua (rtd), re-echoes the need to encourage and support more women to embrace seafaring and other shipping professions towards bridging the male/female gap in global shipping.
Speaking at the this year’s World Seafarers’ Day event held in Lagos, Commodore Effedua, gave kudos to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA not only for putting up a spectacular Seafarers Day event but for the commitment and efforts by the Agency in attracting more females into the maritime profession.
Specifically, Effedua, who was saddled with key functions during the event, said women have what it takes to reach their peak in any career they chose in the global maritime industry because they have the qualities and discipline required to succeed.
In his words “Women all over the world have proven that they have what it takes to compete with their male counterparts in shipping and other professions. We have females who are commanding very large merchant ships, there are female Pilots, Engineers, Generals, Admirals, Air vice Marshals and others in commanding positions so anyone who thinks females are inferiors to males in any way is definitely living in the past”.
“We at the Nigerian Navy (I am still very much part of the Naval family), started the Gender Equality campaign long before the IMO and the rest of the world thought of it. We encouraged female Naval personnel on board our vessels and there has never been any case of harassment of any sort even as we speak”
On the position of management of the Academy on gender issues the Rector was emphatic that MAN believes in Gender Equality without any prevarication.
According to the Rector, inasmuch as the Academy upholds Gender Balance/Equality, the Institution does not and will not lower the Academic bar for females when it comes to Academics.
“Yes, I am on Board with Gender Equality. I believe in it, I preach it and I have always practiced and demonstrated it anywhere I find myself and the Academy is no exception”
“For instance, during our admission last year, we admitted 28 out of the 29 females who applied for admission into the Academy. They only one not admitted was because of her health status and not because of any other consideration”
“Those we admitted met the requirements/standards. We won’t lower the Academic bar when it comes to academics because shipping is global and the requirements, rules and regulations are the same all over the world so it’s either you are fit and able or not. There is no bending the rules when it comes to the basics at the Academy”
“The females we admitted are there and they are doing very well and we are proud to have them. As long as they stick to the rules/regulations in campus, do well in their studies, they will remain with us until their graduation”
The Rector called on Nigerian ship owners to be conscious of female seafarers when they order for new vessels or even refit their old vessels to accommodate women on board.
On the issues of harassment and intolerance and lack of consideration by some men for females on board offshore/onshore, the Rector said it will not be out of place to call for legislation on jail term for those who harass females in the maritime industry.
“Anybody who harasses female workers onboard vessels should go to jail. I don’t think it’s fair nor right for anyone to abuse women in whatever form. Many of us have wives and children who are girls and who knows, they could take up careers in shipping someday-they must be protected by putting the right laws in place”
The Rector stressed that MAN is a regimented institution from inception but following outcry by stakeholders on the strict regimental nature of the Academy, efforts are on towards a review/relaxation of some of the rules such as shaving of hair by females which seems to be attracting interests/attention.
“Nigerian women in the maritime industry have complained about the shaving of hair by our female Cadets and we are looking at making it a low cut in the nearest future, that should not really be an issue but we also listen to what stakeholders say/suggest. We believe that professionalism should be the major concern but in the spirit of Gender Equality/Balance, we are considering some review, Effedua said.