Celebrating women in the maritime industry

29 March 2018 | People

Leandrea Louw

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) celebrated women in the maritime industry along with International Women’s Day.

The guest of honour and keynote speaker, first lady Monica Geingos, encouraged women in attendance by giving them tips based on her own experiences.

Geingos studied law, but later on moved to the finance and investment sector.

She explained that throughout her career, she realised that she didn’t want to limit herself to only one field, and eventually expanded her horizons.

“This is how I realised that it’s a good thing when someone pushes you out of your comfort zone,” adding that it’s okay for women to take risks in their careers.

“Full-time focus is required when pursuing a dream. When I left the stock exchange for the investment bank, I was the most productive during my last month. I wanted to be missed and made sure my absence would be felt. Remember this when you quit your job. I left knowing I didn’t burn any bridges and that I could go back to where I came from. Another reason I could quit my job at the investment bank and start at Stimulus Investments full-time, was because my finances didn’t trap me in a job and place I didn’t want to be. Many of us find ourselves in positions where we can’t follow our dreams, as we are trapped by our finances. We need to manage our money better,” she said.

Geingos encouraged women to speak up about inappropriate touches and remarks at the workplace, adding that society finds it hard to believe women can achieve success through hard work.

“We have to work with men. It’s usually men that we wish to supply or procure from. If we accuse each other of sleeping with every supplier, how will we move forward? This is society’s way of saying ‘she must not have done this on her own’ and that’s how we take recognition away from each other.

“Read the budget speech by the minister of finance. You can’t say you were left out of the conversation when you are not interested in it. It impacts all of us. Be informed and take an active role wherever you are. If you have an incompetent and unqualified boss, leave. Do not work for someone who knows less than you, and is less than you. You will not grow.”

Geingos also told attendees that one can’t talk about a successful career, when your family is in chaos.

“As mothers we are only as happy as our unhappiest child. If you have a child struggling with social or anger issues, a lack of self-esteem or depression, that’s where your happiness lies. Don’t grow alone, it’s too late to tell grown women to be confident, that confidence needs to be instilled earlier. We can start with our children. Your greatest contribution to nation-building is to raise children that are confident and know what they want in life. We’re dealing with too many broken kids in society. Choose a partner who is happy in what he does. If he is happy being a taxi driver and you being a lawyer, it is okay. You cannot fix or complete a grown man. You can only complement each other, when you are both whole.

“There are no shortcuts in life. Don’t aspire to be a managing director if you were never an ordinary clerk. You have to know how it feels at the bottom. You shouldn’t aspire to miss the steps. Go through the process. It’s long and painful, but it’s worth it,” she said.

Namport CEO Bisey Uirab said that the role of women in the maritime industry is becoming increasingly significant, particularly women in ports and on board ships.

“Over the past three years, four female employees were accorded the opportunity to further their academic studies in maritime at master degree level. Two recently returned to Namport from the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden. Another student completed her masters in Maritime Law at the University of Cape Town. We also contributed financially to the studies of a former female employee to complete her masters in maritime logistics in Australia.”

There is also a female employee doing a maritime master program at the World Maritime University in Sweden, while two students at the LawHill Maritime High School in South Africa are completing their grade 10 - 12 in maritime studies.

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