The Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, has called on women operating in the maritime sector to mentor younger women interested in the industry to take up leadership and key positions in maritime.
Justice Torkonoo made the call in a keynote address read on her behalf by Justice Sophia Rosetta Bernasko-Essah during the opening ceremony of a three-day seminar on maritime sustainability organised by the Network of Professional Women in Maritime and Ports Sectors of West and Central Africa (NPWMP-WCA).
The theme for the seminar is: “PMAWCA ports facing the challenges of sustainable development: status and prospects.”
She said for women in maritime to maintain, sustain, and improve the momentum they have gathered so far in the industry, they must provide opportunities for mentorship of younger women with maritime and port career interests.
She, therefore, urged the maritime women to create room for such younger ladies who would be knocking on their doors for support, guidance, and direction to climb the path they have taken, adding that it was only by so doing that they could look back and acknowledge the role they have played for women, the maritime and port sectors, as well as Africa.
She expressed enthusiasm about the progress the women have made in their quest to strengthen their capacity in management and commended them for producing women in very key positions.
She indicated that Ghana had made strides in engaging women in top positions in the maritime sector.
She disclosed that out of a total of 16 management members at the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, six were women, while four out of the 15 management team members of the Ghana Maritime Authority were women, adding that for the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, four out of the 20-member top management team were women.
The Chief Justice noted that the desire for women to showcase their intellectual capabilities in equal measure with their male counterparts with the overarching objective of contributing significantly to the development of the African continent could not be ignored.
She said the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has expressed concern and has undertaken measures to promote gender equality in the maritime industry.
She noted that according to the IMO, under its auspices, seven Women in Maritime Associations (WIMAs) have been established in Africa, Arab states, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific, encompassing some 152 countries and dependent territories and 490 participants.
Madam Florentine Guihard Koidio, the Coordinator-General of NPWMP-WCA, said the maritime sector had been overtaken by men; therefore, there was a need for women to be more visible in the sector through continuous training, being visible, and being recognized through their skills and capabilities to reach higher positions in the industry.
Madam Koidoi said the annual meeting of the group affords them the platform to deliberate on pressing maritime issues and bring out recommendations on the way forward for the sector.
The NPWMP-WCA is an arm of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA), with the aim of promoting and spreading the vision of equity and unity in the maritime and ports sectors through the perfect integration of women with respect for their cultural identity. Its objective is to strengthen members’ management capabilities.
The opening ceremony of the seminar saw the swearing-in of the first executive of the Ghana Chapter of the NPWMP, headed by its President, Ms Abena Serwaa Opoku Fosu.