Tema, July 23, GNA - Mrs Juliana Azumah, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, on Thursday said government would collaborate with women groups to ensure their active participation in the shipping industry.
Mrs Azumah gave the assurance at Tema during the inauguration of the Ghana branch of Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), an umbrella organisation of women in management positions involved in the maritime transportation business and related trades worldwide.
She said an occasion like that offered her an opportunity to share in the achievements of her fellow women, who had bravely ventured into male-dominated and preserved arena and had made success of their adventures.
Mrs Azumah expressed her happiness that Ghanaian women have not been left out in the global strides to improve the situation of women and facilitate their empowerment and development.
The Minister congratulated the founding members of WISTA-Ghana for their desire to promote increased participation of women in management positions in the maritime industry.
Mrs Azumah was happy to note that WISTA, duly registered in Ghana, was affiliated with WISTA International and hoped its international link would help enhance its capacity to strive for equality in the hitherto male-dominated maritime industry.
The Minister noted that although the maritime industry worldwide was dominated and controlled by men, it was worthy to note that women were gradually taking opportunities in the industry and were actively participating to promote the contribution of the industry to the national development.
She reiterated that for women to actively participate in the shipping industry, Ghanaians would have to change their attitudes towards the employment of women in the shipping sector, by developing strategies and measures that would encourage women to rub shoulders with their male counterparts in the industry.
Mrs Azumah further noted that by so doing, the economic contributions of women would be acknowledged and appreciated not only in the shipping industry but also the overall economic development of Ghana and the world at large.
She also encouraged her fellow women to work hard to improve on their levels of competence so as to meet the challenges associated with the contribution of women in the socio-economic advancement.
Mrs Azumah hoped that WISTA-Ghana would be vibrant and ready with innovative strategies that would attract and help retain young women in the shipping industry through education and knowledge sharing.
"The numerous opportunities that exist in the industry are opened to both men and women. I strongly urge you to avail yourselves to the numerous benefits associated with the industry and together help build a better Ghana for us our people", the Minister added.
Mrs Dzifa Attivor, Deputy Minister of Transport, said shipping and trading were key drivers of economic development and in most cases the bedrock of international trade.
She stated that for Ghana to attain the middle income status by 2020, the National Transport Policy had heralded a change in approach, setting out blue prints for sustainable development of the transportation system within the context of a co-ordinated strategy for growth and poverty reduction.
She said it was heart-warming that women had accepted the challenge to brace and join hands with their male counterparts to raise the standards of shipping and trading".
The Deputy Minister commended the brains behind the formation of WISTA-Ghana since the Association sought to unite women in the shipping industry.
She said it was the desire of government that the bond of unity being forged among Ghanaian women should be extended to other sister countries in the sub-region.
Mrs Attivor said just as other international maritime organisations through various means were helping to promote the advancement of women in decision making process of the Maritime Industry, WISTA-Ghana must be part of these efforts aimed at creating opportunities to improve women's access to training, employment, social protection and better conditions of work.
Mrs Attivor expressed the hope that WISTA-Ghana would achieve these because members had them as part of their objectives.
She urged them to be honest, hardworking and diligent, because the market out there for products or services, would not give any preference to gender.
The Deputy Minister said the Millennium Development Goal 933" which aims at promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, would further encourage women to contribute to blaze the trail in the field of governance, commerce, sports and economic emancipation.
Good will messages were read by Mr Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Mr Issaka Peter Azumah, Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr Alock Kwadwo Asamoah, Rector of Regional Maritime University, and Mr Nestor Galley, Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority.
Mr Kofi Mbiah sworn into office the seven-member Executive of WISTA-Ghana with Naa Densua Aryeetey as President, and Alice Torkornoo, as her Vice.
The rest were Bernadette Chinery-Hesse, Secretary, Catherine Haizel, Treasurer, Esther Gyebi-Donkor, Public Relations Officer, Felicity Sey, Assistant Secretary and Sylvia Owu, Executive Member.
Delegates from WISTA-International and WISTA-Nigeria attended the inaugural ceremony.