Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has reiterated the need for the inclusion of more women into the governance process of nations and organizations.
VP Howard-Taylor spoke Tuesday, 2 April in Accra, Ghana when she delivered the keynote address at the 6th Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Africa Regional conference.
According to a press release, VP Howard-Taylor holds that any Nation or Organization that does not fully utilize the capacities of its women is doomed to remain under developed and incapacitated.
The three-day conference held from April 2nd- 4th under the theme “Roles of Women in Harnessing the Potential of African’s Blue Economy,” discussed Africa’s Blue Economy Inter and Intra Africa Trade and opportunities within the Maritime domain.
Madam Taylor references a recent report from Nigeria, in which the head of the Nigerian Port Authority Madam Hadiza B. Usman reported for the first time in Nigerian history a remittance of 30.4 billion naira operating surplus to the Federal Government as the most recent justification for women inclusion.
“This is just one example of the benefits of adding the female gender to all aspects of national development in general and the benefits that they bring to the maritime sector in particular,” she says.
Thankfully, she says the maritime sector is quite aware of the benefits of women’s inclusion and empowerment in this sector.
Vice President Howard – Taylor adds that though the numbers are slowly increasing in the governance space, the fact is that women have not always been able to fully enjoy the rewards of the growth in Africa’s economies, especially considering the significant roles they have played in helping expand sectors across the continent.
Madam Taylor suggests that all leaders of industries should continue to support initiatives for greater inclusion and empowerment of women, citing the blue economy which she notes, needs a sustained and concerted action for women to become sea cadets, to lead port operations, captains of ships and innovators for sustainability and growth in the blue economy.
“This is especially more important now, as we see the international spotlight being placed on women in this sector coming together to inspire, empower and share with one another,” she says.
Meanwhile, VP Howard- Taylor admonishes that inasmuch as the onus is on national governance structures to open up space for women leaders, it also behooves women to stand up, step up and be counted, stressing, “we cannot be counted if we remain behind”.
“Our greatest challenge to doing so is fear…..of the unknown, of the difficulties, of our qualification, of possible failures, of letting our families down if we are not there 24/7, of being seen as abnormal, of being called rebel, of being non conformists,” she concludes.–Press release