March 10, 2019 9:.00AM / Bukola Akinyele and Nifemi Taiyese for Proshare WebTV
The Nigerian Stock Exchange in Partnership with IFC, UN Women, World Federation of Exchanges, United Nations Global Compact Sustainable Stock Exchanges Risk Initiative and supported by House of Tara, Olori, ShugaPlum plus Modara hosted the International Women’s Day 2019 as an avenue to discuss bridging the gender parity gap, gender diversity and women empowerment.
The Symposium themed “Balance For Better “ kicked off with the opening remarks by Ms. Tinuade Awe the Executive Director, Regulation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Giving the opening remarks, she noted that according to the World Economic Forum report Nigeria ranked 133 out of 149 in terms of global gender parity. The Gender Parity Index (GPI) is a socioeconomic index usually designed to measure the relative access to education of males and females.
This shows that there is progress to be made in efforts to close this gap which should be through collective contribution.
She said, gender gap must be a thing of history and for this to be done urgency and more action is needed to deliver faster results.
“There should be investment in academic policies and education as this will yield return of investment she said. The aftermath of this is that it will unleash the full potential of women in family, business, community and the nation altogether” Awe said .
The ED, Regulations said the NSE was committed to women empowerment principles signed in 2016 which covered both work place and market place.
In her keynote speech Mrs Eme Essien Lore Country Manager International Finance Corporation IFC, Nigeria in her remarks said the event is organized to be a global initiative to ring bell for gender equality, in spurring growth for development and also to push for more progress as regards women.
According to her one of the reasons why the IFC is at the forefront of bridging the gender gap, is providing resources and opportunities to help people focus on the role of women.
She said several organizations including IFC have very good initiatives to advance the agenda and draws attention to that now to bridge the gender parity gap. The rate of literacy is women 41% to men 61%, which is not encouraging and more work should be done to drive public private and government investments in girl child education.
The event was also an avenue for the Signing of the CEO Statement of Support for the WEPs and was done by Eme Essien Lore Country Manager Nigeria International Finance Corporation IFC, Erelu Angela Adebayo Former First Lady Ekiti State & National Council Member NSE and Mr Lansana Wonnen UN Women Deputy Representative.
It was also noted that some African countries have low representation of women in government and Nigeria is one of them.
The IFC Country Manager recognized the progress with women involvement in leadership in investment, banking sector.
Deputy representative for UN Women Mr Lansana Wonnneh in his remarks, said this was the first time the private sector was driving International Women’s Day which makes it a unique and significant milestone. He stated that an initiative like this will drive full participation of women in economic activities.
He said when women are fully integrated in the economy, the outcome is three times more he believes either as individuals, in households or in work place. He makes mention of the resistance for women to realize their full potential.
Statistically speaking, he said Nigeria is at the bottom of gender equality. The figures presented in the statistics is less than 10% and has a high rate of decrease or otherwise owing to the upcoming elections.
According to him most women do not benefit from government businesses as they are not awarded contracts, he said so the infrastructure needs to be changed for clear progress to be made.
The event featured a panel session which discussed the topic “Think Equal, build Smart, Innovate for Change” featured several panel discussants: Serah Makka-Ugbabe, Country Director Nigeria, ONE Campaign, Dr Ola Brown, Managing Director, Flying Doctors Nigeria, Olukemi Awodein, Managing Director, Investment Banking, Chapel Hill Denham, Lady Sandra Aguebor, Founder Lady Mechanic Initiative, Debola Williams, Founder Red Media Africa, Olusola Amusan, Philanthropies Lead, Microsoft Nigeria with Kaidi Eddie Obiakor Gender Specialist IFC as the moderator.
The panel session explored the impact of education on young girls by thinking of technology and inculcating it into the matters of education.
It made a strong case for the gradual shift from traditional computing to Artificial Intelligence which will produce great change to the world.
The panelists asserted that schools should not box the girl child into Arts and Humanities, but should hitherto encourage them to explore the sciences.
They also made a case for the provision of technological materials to the girl child, and access to internet and learning instructions.
It was also agreed that the continuing narrative of more women who are influencers should be carried along. The more important thing is to enable quotas to women for corporate boards and NSE should work on making policies to incentivize other organizations to embrace the use of quota.