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WIMA (FIJI) Launched

WIMA  (FIJI) Launched
The Fiji WIMA Executive Committee From left: Jane Koi (Vice President), Jeanette Rama (Member), Ashika Chand (Secretary), Patricia Ho (President), Chief Guest; Minister for Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa , Mary O’brien (Treasurer), Sheetal Singh (Public Relations & Communications Officer) Miriama Naqasima (Member), Mavis Joseph (Legal Advisor). Photo: WIMA (Fiji)
October 05
10:40 2016

The Women in Maritime Association (Fiji) (WIMA) was officially launched by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa on the 28th of September at the Suva Royal Yacht Club.

In her keynote address she said – “It is encouraging to note that this traditional involvement of women in maritime is slowly changing and that women are now actually taking up the same maritime studies as men, with the aim of vying for the same positions in the maritime industry that hitherto have been occupied by men.”

She said of the 12 graduates in the trade diploma courses for marine engineering and nautical science at Fiji National University (FNU last year); one of them was a female.

The Minister said she was certain that with the concerted efforts of Government, national associations such as WIMA, NGOs, regional bodies and associations such as the Secretariat of Pacific Community’s (SPC’s) Pacific Women in Maritime Association (PACWIMA), the number of females breaking into the male-dominated maritime courses at FNU and other regional institutions would increase from year to year.  “After all, the world saw her first female captain in 1935.”

She pleaded with maritime stakeholders to highlight this need for increased participation of women in the industry to ensure that gender issues were properly addressed in discussions pertaining to this popular mode of travel.

The vision of Fiji WIMA she said was to be the leading network for women empowerment and advancement in Fiji’s maritime sector, including being the primary focal point for engagement at the national level in matters relating to women in maritime affairs.

According to Ms Vuniwaqa almost 90% of the world’s trade is carried by ship and that makes shipping one of the most important sectors of any economy. An industry that carries 90% of the world’s goods needs at least 90% of the world’s talent….and gender is irrelevant.

However, she said despite the increasing numbers of women in maritime professions, shipping remains a male-dominated industry. “As the industry continues to grow, sustainability for shipping will logically be dependent on more women entering the maritime professions and in order to attract more women to maritime careers and promote equality, the changing of mindsets becomes crucial.  It requires our combined commitment to the principles of non-discrimination espoused in our Constitution.

“It requires the persistence of relevant stakeholders to ensure that the traditional shackles of society which hinder the empowerment of women are broken.  It requires a creation of a gender sensitive platform in all spheres of our society which encourages, empowers and enables us as a country to achieve true gender equality and equity.”

Meanwhile the WIMA president Patricia Ho acknowledged the presence of the chief guest. She extended her sincere gratitude to their wonderful sponsors for the evening who generously contributed to make it possible.

Ms Ho congratulated the Fiji WIMA Executive Committee members for accepting the challenge to work towards making a difference for women in the maritime industry.

 

The objectives of WIMA outlined by Ms Ho are:

Creating a national network for women to discuss realistic, constructive issues with resolutions to benefit all.

Improve the level of competency by focusing on education.

Be recognized by Pac WIMA with a view of creating mutual support.

Establish partnership with international and regional organizations.

FeedBack: maikab@fijisun.com.fj

 

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