WHEN IT STARTED:
It all started in 1974, in the United Kingdom, (UK) when a handful of women involved in the tanker business met for Christmas lunch and decided to repeat the experience on a regular basis to exchange views on professional matters of common interests. Over the years, contacts from overseas were invited to join the meeting and the group gradually expanded throughout Europe to include women from other areas of shipping. In a relatively short period of time, 25 women were involved and it was then decided that an Association should be formed; WISTA (Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association) was born
INAUGURATION OF WISTA GHANA
The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association(WISTA) Ghana, was officially inaugurated by the Hon. Deputy Minister for Transport, Mrs. Dzifa Attivor at a ceremony in Tema, on July 22, 2010. The inauguration of WISTA Ghana brought the number of WISTA associations in sub-Saharan Africa to three and this includes Nigeria and South Africa.
WISTA Ghana is an association of professional women in the maritime established in June 2009 with the sole aim of promoting the development of women in the maritime industry to be able to partner in development.
The mission of WISTA International, the umbrella organization, is to attract more women to the industry and to support women in management positions through networking, education and mentoring in focus. WISTA believes it can enhance members’ competence and empower career success.
The Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, in her statement, endorsed the initiative of the women and assure the association of the commitment of the Ministry to collaborate with them in all its endeavors to ensure the active economic participation of women in the shipping industry in Ghana. She said even though the maritime industry is male-dominated, it is worth noting that women are gradually taking opportunities in the industry and are actively participating to promote the contribution of the industry to national development.
The Hon. Deputy Minister for Transport, Mrs. Dzifa Attivor in her keynote address, stated that she considered the formation of the Ghana chapter of WISTA as a major milestone in the role of women in Ghana’s quest for accelerated development.
She said that shipping and trading constitute key players in the economic development of all nations of the world and in most cases, the bedrock of international trade. She said that shipping remains one of the most important pillars of economic, social and cultural growth.
She said that recent World Bank statistics indicate that economic growth will be faster in the next 22 years than in the last 22 years due to improved and efficient transport systems. It was therefore heartwarming that the women in the industry have accepted the challenge to brace and join hands with the male counterparts in raising the standards of shipping and trading.
She called on WISTA Ghana to part of efforts being made at creating opportunities to improve women’s access to training, employment, social protection and better condition of work.
In her welcome address, the President of WISTA Ghana, Mrs. Naa Densua Aryeetey enumerated some challenges on both the national and international shipping industry and called for regional and sub-regional co-operation, partnerships and networking. She said the maritime administration, the Shippers’ and Port authorities should take a closer look and intensify initiatives at regional and sub-regional co-operation.
She said that WISTA Ghana provides the platform for networking, knowledge and information sharing and for creating synergies to reach the next level. She said that the professional women in Ghana’s maritime industry not only have the competence, the educational background, and the experience but are also committed and hardworking women who have continued to make tremendous contributions in their various organizations.
Mrs. Aryeetey, said that as part of its objectives of attracting women into the industry, WISTA Ghana is committed to providing good leadership and mentoring for the younger women who are desirous of making a career in the maritime industry.
Mr. Kofi Mbiah, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, in his statement said that even though Ghana had made strides in promoting women's issues over the years, the formation of the Ghana chapter of WISTA is a manifestation of Ghana’s commitment and show of support to the worldwide movement for the advancement of women’s issues. He said the objectives of WISTA though may seem to concentrate on women empowerment in International Trade and Transport, these objectives also have the effect of developing the society as a whole, considering the tremendous influence of women in the socio-economic of the country.
He laid emphasis on the fact that no society can attain the goals of sustainable development and accelerated growth, create an equitable society and meet the aspiration of its people, without taking into account the productive capacities of women, their resilience, and aptitude for creating a better life for all. He called on the Association to partner with like-minded associations to lead the way in bringing the benefits of international trade and transport to ordinary women.
He congratulated and commended the organizers and initiators for the formation and inauguration of the Ghana Chapter of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Ghana.
Mr. Nestor Galley, the Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority pledged the Authority’s continuous support for the Association.
Mr. I.P. Azumah, Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, said the Authority would like to see WISTA Ghana as a partner in promoting the progress of women in the maritime industry, so that as the 2015 deadline for the achievement of the millennium development goals draws near, WISTA Ghana in partnership with key players in the maritime industry could ensure as much success in this regard as possible.
The Rector of the Regional Maritime University, Mr. Alock Asamoah, said that the RMU identifies with the objectives of WISTA Ghana and that the association was one of the avenues through which to stimulate interest in the maritime industry and promote growth in the country.