Gender in maritime: Jean Chiazor Anishere, SAN

06 Jun 2023
Joy Dimka


Her profile and advocacy for achieving gender equality in the male-dominated maritime sector.

Jean Chiazor Anishere, SAN


Jean Chiazor Anishere, SAN, is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and one of the country’s most prominent maritime lawyers. She is the author of five volumes of Essays in Admiralty – a comprehensive collection of essays and learned papers focused on maritime law, published by one of UK's prominent publishers in maritime books – Petrospot UK. Anishere is the Editor–in–Chief of Admiralty Law Reports of Nigeria, Volumes 1 – 26 (A Compendium of Judgments on Admiralty Matters in Nigeria, through the Federal High Court, to the Supreme Court of Nigeria).

Anishere holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Lagos, Akoka in 1994 and Masters in Transport Management, Ladoke Akintola University, 1995. She also has a Certificate of Merit in Shipping, (Anatomy of Shipping) from the Cambridge Academy of Transport, UK in 1996.  She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986 and sworn a Notary Public by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in 1990.

Jean Chiazor Anishere was awarded International Woman of the Year (1997-1998) by the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, in recognition of her services to law; and International Professional of the Year 2005, for her excellent practice in the field of law.

She is a Maritime Legal Consultant to the Nigerian House of Representatives’ Committee on Marine; and trained the first set of the cabotage enforcement officers for Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). She is a founding member of the Committee of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute, on the bi-annual Maritime Seminar for Judges.

Anishere is a Member, International Bar Association, and Nigerian Bar Association; Member of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK); Fellow, Institute of Directors, Nigeria and UK; Legal Adviser/Member of the Women in Energy, Nigeria (WIEN); Legal Adviser/Member of Women in Commonwealth Business Network, Nigeria (CBWN); Vice President of the Maritime Arbitrators Association of Nigeria (MAAN); and Ex-officio Member, Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA).

Jean Chiazor Anishere also presided as Co–Chair of the Nigerian Admiralty Law and Procedure Reform Committee, 2020; She is past President, Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association (WISTA-Nigeria); past President, African Women in Maritime Organization (WIMA-Nigeria); past Continental President, Women in Maritime Africa (WIMAFRICA); United Nations/African Union sole representative for African Women in Maritime (WIMAFRICA); EXCO Member, Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN); and Member, International Chamber of Commerce, Nigeria (ICC-N).

Cited on Who-Is-Who Legal in Nigeria, Anishere is the Senior Partner of the Lagos-based Jean Chiazor and Partners, a firm of legal practitioners.


Joy Dimka: Why do we have significant gender imbalance in maritime, and from your experience – and knowledge – what initiatives can foster gender equality in the industry?

Jean Chiazor Anishere: The gender imbalance in the maritime industry can be attributed to several factors. The industry is traditionally male-dominated, and long-established cultural norms and prejudices have prevented women from pursuing careers in this field. These norms create barriers and stereotypes that perpetuate gender imbalances.

The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and managerial and visible roles within the maritime industry may discourage other women from entering or advancing in the field. The absence of relatable role models makes it harder for women to envision themselves succeeding in maritime careers.

Another factor for lack of gender inclusion is the challenging work environment. The maritime industry often involves physically demanding work, long periods away from home, and harsh working conditions. These factors may deter women from considering maritime careers due to concerns about work-life balance, personal safety, and limited access to suitable facilities and accommodations on ships, where the career relates to sea faring.

Women sometimes face perceived or actual barriers to entry in the maritime industry, including discriminatory employment practices, limited access to training and educational opportunities, and biases in favour of male candidates. These barriers can make it difficult for women to enter and advance in the maritime profession. Also, unimplemented policies and initiatives to promote gender diversity and inclusion in the maritime industry contribute to gender imbalance. The absence of supportive measures, such as mentoring programmes that address women's specific needs, gender-sensitive recruitment strategies, and workplace policies, can hinder women's participation and career progression.

Addressing the gender imbalance will require a co-ordinated effort by multiple stakeholders, including maritime organisations, educational institutions, governments, and industry leaders. Efforts such as promoting equal opportunities, changing cultural perceptions, implementing supportive policies, providing mentoring and training programmes, and promoting women's representation will help build a more inclusive and balanced maritime sector. I must also state here that publication of literature or articles on topical issues, such as it’s being discussed and published by your esteemed magazine, is another brilliant method of expounding the need for women empowerment and inclusivity in the maritime space.

It is important to raise awareness of the benefits of gender diversity and challenge stereotypes associated with the maritime profession. This can be achieved through targeted campaigns, media representation and educational programmes aimed at debunking myths, and encouraging young women to consider a career in the maritime industry.

Companies involved in maritime/shipping activities should adopt inclusive recruitment practices that ensure equal opportunities for all candidates. This could include revising job descriptions to eliminate gender bias, establishing diverse recruitment panels, and actively recruiting qualified female candidates. This should be complemented with mentoring programmes, which play an important role in supporting the career development of women in the maritime industry. Establishing formal mentorship initiatives where experienced professionals provide guidance and support to women can help address barriers and facilitate career advancement. Networking events and forums specifically targeted at women in the maritime industry can also provide valuable opportunities for professional connections and mentorship.

On improving access to education and training for women interested in maritime careers, this can involve collaborating with educational institutions to develop specialised maritime courses, grants, scholarships, and apprenticeships that actively encourage female participation. Good examples of such practices can be evinced in WISTA 'SHEO' annual program and scholarships for women in Shipping and CILT-NIGERIA's program, ACACILT in collaboration with the University of Lagos, Akoka Campus, on introducing special causes on logistics and transport, amongst other laudable projects.

Additionally, offering flexible learning options and support for women, balancing work and family responsibilities can help increase their participation in maritime training programmes. This should be part of establishing gender-sensitive workplace policies that address the specific needs and challenges faced by women in the maritime industry. These policies may include provisions for maternity leave, breastfeeding facilities, reasonable accommodations on ships for our female Seafarers, and work-life balance support. By creating a supportive and inclusive work environment, companies can attract and retain female talent.

Facilitating industry-wide collaboration and recognising and celebrating the achievements of women in the maritime industry are important for inspiring others and promoting gender equality. I’d like to celebrate your financial magazine's brilliant initiative in this regard.

Joy Dimka: What role can men play in promoting gender equality in the industry?

Jean Chiazor Anishere: Men can play a crucial role in promoting gender equality in the maritime industry by taking on responsibilities as allies and advocates. They can use their influence and voice to raise awareness of gender differences, advocate for equal opportunity, and promote a culture of inclusion. By acting as allies, men can amplify women's voices, confront discriminatory practices, and support gender equality across the industry.

By offering guidance, sharing knowledge, and providing opportunities for skill development and career advancement, men can help women overcome barriers and excel in their chosen fields. Men can also promote women by supporting their achievements, recommending them for promotions and special projects, and actively working to support their professional development.

Men can also champion diversity and equal representation in the maritime industry by actively supporting and promoting inclusive employment practices. They can challenge gender stereotypes and prejudices, promote professional development opportunities for women, foster inclusive and respectful workplace cultures, and encourage collaborations with other industry stakeholders.