The CCP Women’s Network in MENA organizes all-women study visit to the Dominican Republic

 Port Control Unit officer in the Port of Caucedo, Dominican Republic
BEIRUT (LEBANON) / SANTO DOMINGO (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC),
3 DECEMBER 2021 – The underrepresentation of women in the customs and law enforcement sectors is a global concern in industrialized and developing countries alike. In varying degrees and differing regionally, the share of women working in these fields continues to be proportionally limited and undervalued. The participation and professional development of women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is particularly low, with only 14 percent of the CCP officers working in Port Control and Air Cargo Control Units (PCUs and ACCUs) being women.
 
The CCP Women's Network has been actively advocating for structural changes within the programme for the past five years, with the aim of promoting women’s access to the profession and their advancement to leadership positions. However, the geographical scale of the CCP–now present in over 70 countries–calls for a more customized approach to gender equality.
 
Taking note of the challenges specific to the region, the CCP team in MENA launched, in June 2021, its ‘Customs, Cargo and Women: A Talk for Her!’ initiative. After a successful kick-off meeting, which brought together women officers from four countries in the region to discuss daily challenges and develop a roadmap for the future of the initiative, the team embarked on a second, more ambitious activity. In November 2021, drawing on feedback provided by the participants, the MENA segment of the Women's Network implemented its first inter-regional study visit, in coordination with the CCP team in Latin America and the Caribbean.
 
A group of 12 women PCU/ACCU officers, and officials from Customs agencies in Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia travelled to the Dominican Republic to meet their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic. The study visit had both technical and professional development components. During the first three days of the activity, participants visited the two main ports of Santo Domingo − Caucedo and Haina − and the headquarters of the General Directorate of Customs (Direccion General de Aduanas/DGA, in Spanish). Through this exchange, they were able to enhance their technical and operational skills and learn about procedures and technologies in use in the Dominican Republic and with potential applications in their own countries. Moreover, they had the opportunity to meet with the Director-General of Customs and with a group of Dominican women leaders heading a number of departments within the institution, such as Intelligence, Operations, Risk Cargo, and other sections relevant to the work of CCP. Through this experience, participants engaged in dialogue with their Dominican counterparts and gained insight into their daily work, career trajectory and commitment to the profession.
 
The study visit culminated with the delivery of an inter-regional coaching session on leadership and management. Through the analysis of a case study, the participants discussed common challenges to gender equality, work/life balance and the impact of gender stereotypes on women’s career advancement.
 
This study visit marks the beginning of a new chapter for the work of the CCP Women's Network. The initiative keeps growing in strength, and so do its aspirations for the future. Stay tuned for more activities!
 

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The Container Control Programme is grateful for the hospitality and dedication of the personnel of the General Directorate of Customs of the Dominican Republic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic and all other national institutions that were instrumental to the organization and success of this visit.

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