Swakopmund — Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa says that female inclusion in the maritime sector can accelerate inclusive and sustainable development.
Mutorwa was addressing women at the belated World Maritime Day celebration hosted on Friday by the National Chapter of Women in the Maritime Sector, Eastern and Southern Africa (Womesa) in Walvis Bay.
He said that global statistics show that the maritime industry still remains one of the most under-represented sector of economic activities for women.
Therefore, he said, Namibia must, in line with the country's gender equality national policy, aggressively bridge the gap in order to achieve equal representation.
"Ending all forms of discrimination against women is thus not only a basic fundamental human right but also a very crucial tool to accelerate inclusive and sustainable development. Empowering women also boosts socio-economic growth," Mutorwa said.
According to him, the directorate of maritime affairs, apart from outdated legal and institutional frameworks, with limiting civil service rules and operational constraints of government, is also seriously understaffed.
The division is furthermore not able to attract and retain skilled and qualified personnel and now needs urgent attention, he said.
"In all the aforementioned activities the equal participation and representation of both men and women must be accepted as indispensable and unavoidable."
In Namibia, female representation or presence in the male-dominated industrial sector is still low, and Womesa vigorously advocates gender equity, improving women's access to maritime training and technology, and promoting their advancement to key decision-making levels in the maritime sector in eastern and southern Africa.