By Tola Adenubi, Lagos
Perpetua Onyia, a female mobile harbor crane operator at APM Terminals Apapa, Nigeria’s largest container terminal, expressed satisfaction with the work environment and the opportunities given her to thrive in her chosen profession.
Speaking recently at an event organized by Lagos port complex Apapa to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, Onyia said her success as a crane operator has opened the door for other women to pursue similar careers in the male-dominated port environment.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is “Embrace Fairness”.
Onyia credits APM Terminals’ management for giving her the same opportunities and resources as her male counterparts.
“From the first day you step foot in APM Terminals, it’s been a fair and equal opportunity. Nobody says you’re a woman and you can’t do this,” she said.
Cynthia Chukwuneke, another female crane operator who also spoke at the event, said APM Terminals encouraged her to be the best in her chosen career.
In his speech, Olufunmilayo Olotu, Port Manager of Apapa Port Complex, Lagos, advised women in the maritime industry to embrace and support each other as they pursue their careers.
“Women need to learn how to celebrate each other’s achievements, educate and raise awareness about women’s equality. Women need to lobby to accelerate gender equality, work together, and help each other advance in their chosen careers,” she said.
Since the federal government approved night shifts for women in 2019, APM Terminals Apapa has come together to create opportunities for women in male-dominated port operations. Beginning with hiring female crane operators that same year, the company went on to push more gender-friendly policies.
APM Terminals also encourages women not only to aspire to leadership positions, but also to undergo specific training programs designed to prepare them for managerial and leadership roles.
“At APM Terminals Nigeria, not only do we provide equal opportunities for men and women, but we actually work harder to encourage women to participate in some fields and roles where women’s participation is limited. We also ensure that we have women representation in the leadership cadre of the organization, and Create an enabling environment for them to succeed in any role within the company,” said Uzoma Ngozi Ben-Ude, Senior Human Resources Business Partner, APM Terminals Nigeria.
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