WISTA INTERNATIONAL AMBASSADOR
Ms. Mfon Ekon Usoro, Secretary General, Memorandum of Understanding on port state control for West and Central Africa in Lagos, Nigeria
We have asked Mfon a few questions about being an Ambassador for WISTA;
In a male-dominated industry, WISTA has been able to celebrate a successful 40 years. What does WISTA mean to the women in the industry?
WISTA is a testimony that women have successfully ventured into and remained in the hitherto male only industry. It affirms the “can do” spirit of ambitious and entrepreneurial women and at the same time serves as a source of hope and encouragement to other women especially the new entrants and younger women.
What is the best way to attract young people to the maritime industry?
The decrease in the number of young people taking up maritime careers is symptomatic of the problems in the entire industry. The millennials are interested in employment that will have a clear career path, high take-home offers, opportunities for trainings and promotion, equal opportunities, high tech facilities and equipment and work/ life balance. The industry will therefore have to adjust to meet all the above needs in a way that offers sustainable and fulfilling careers.
Can the same practices be used to attract women to the industry?
Generally, yes. Having said so, I hasten to add that more efforts, resources and concentration will have to be directed at all the issues associated with gender diversity and inclusion. Companies and governments must adopt a gender inclusion policy which will contain strategies specifically targeted at women. Some of such measures will include giving women equal training opportunities, assurances of safety and security for onboard female crew and officers, safety from sexual harassment, flexibility in working hours and maternity leave etc. Most of all, well achieved women should make themselves the champion of female empowerment and strive to produce a younger version of themselves.