Role of women in the maritime sector recognised
Members of an organisation representing women in the maritime sector conducted a clean-up operation at a local beach and raised awareness about the group.
11 August 2019 | Local News
Lorriane Masiza; WOMESA regional president; “We however earn way lower wages at approximately 64% of the men’s wages for the same work in aquaculture.”
The organisation Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (WOMESA) hosted a beach clean-up campaign at Independence beach on the outskirts of Kuisebmond recently.
The event, with “Women’s role in marine conservation for sustainable livelihoods” as theme, coincided with clean-up activities on 24 beaches of African countries where WOMESA has registered national chapters.
The effort was modelled around the AU African Seas and Oceans Day and the quest for cleaner oceans which is celebrated annually on 25 July.
WOMESA Namibia chairperson Heritha Muyoba explained that the exercise draws attention to the role of woman in marine conservation and supports the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 which urges action to conserve and sustainably use the world oceans.
“Oceans and seas support the livelihood of billions of people around the world. As marine ecosystems fall off balance due to pollution and degradation, the risk to these livelihoods continue to progress unabated. Millions of tonnes of plastic are washed into the oceans. This calls for global action using a localised approach involving coastal communities as substantial volumes of marine litter are generated through land based activities.”
Keynote speaker Walvis Bay deputy mayor Penelope Martin Louw pointed out that the African Seas and Oceans Day was set aside during the 22nd summit of the African Union to protect the coastal environment from the effects of climate change, pollution and unsustainable fishing practices.
“Our continent depends heavily on the sea as the primary means of living and transportation of cargo through import and export. The oceans’ resources are of crucial importance in ensuring food security, health and energy security of our people and future generations. Marine security is thus our major focus for sustainable growth of the African blue economy.”
WOMESA regional president Lorriane Masiza said that women form part of the workforce involved in processing and trading in the fishing industry.
“We however earn way lower wages at approximately 64% of the men’s wages for the same work in aquaculture. In many respects the women’s voice is largely unheard and their efforts in conservation of marine ecosystems is also unnoticed, yet the degradation of this environment poses a big risk to their livelihoods together with the many families that depend of them.”
According to Masiza the formation of WOMESA afforded women a forum to not only take stock of their needs but to advocate for gender equity; improve women's access to maritime training and technology and promote their advancement to key decision making levels in the mainstream maritime sector.
“The reality of having only 2% female seafarers globally has seen many women being excluded from some of the available opportunities. WOMESA is dedicated to finding solutions to the factors that hinder the advancement of women within this male dominated industry.”
The organisation has an active mentorship programme for young girls and its members as it spearheads the advancement of women as a key resource in the maritime sector.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) initiated WOMESA and launched it in 2007 in Mombasa under the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector with the primary objective of encouraging IMO member states.
This was done to open the doors of maritime institutes to enable women to train alongside men and so acquire the high level of competence the maritime industry demands.
The organisation advocates for gender equity, the improvement of women access to maritime training and technology and promote their advancement to key decision making levels in the maritime sector.
The Namibian chapter of WOMESA was launched in Wavis Bay in 2012.