Shun Culture of Silence in sexual harassment cases- Gbemisola Saraki urges
The Minister of State for Transport, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, has called for outspokenness against all forms of sexual harassment and exploitation in the maritime industry.
The minister stated this while flagging off a virtual conference organised on Thursday by the Women in Maritime Journalism, in celebration of the 2020 Day of the Seafarer, which holds yearly on June 25.
Saraki, who was represented by Asmau Adaji, a Deputy Director, Marine Pollution, urged maritime industry to collaborate against the sexual crime, while seeking an end to a culture of silence.
She said: “the fight against sexual harassment needs effective collaboration among stakeholders – government, shipping companies, civil society, and victims must be courageous to speak up.
Human dignity must be respected always and we must shun the culture of silence and inaction.
She frowned on the fact that many victims have decided to be withdrawn after facing sexual harassment and assault, from fear of stigmatisation and victimisation.
She expressed the Ministry’s commitment to formulating implementable policies in line with subsisting laws to address the issue, which erodes human dignity and inhibits the womenfolk.
The Minister added that though the maritime industry is male-dominated, much emphasis is being placed on achieving gender equality in the workforce.
She noted that efforts to achieving the 2019 World Maritime Day celebration focus of Empowering Women in the Maritime Community would demand government and all stakeholders’ commitment to ensure safe, secure and attractive industry to encourage more women participation.
The minister added that achieving gender equality in the maritime sector therefore requires a holistic approach to addressing encumbrances including sexist statements, unwelcome physical touch and other forms of sexual harassment and exploitation.
Earlier in a welcome address, Chairperson of WIMAJ, Ezinne Azunna, said that the non-for-profit organisation aligns with the International Maritime Organisation’s call for increased women participation in the maritime sector , and with the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly directed at developing and empowering women and girls.