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‘Nigeria needs cultural shift to influence women advancement’

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Nena Nwachukwu


As part of activities to mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated every March 8, Nena Nwachukwu, a fintech professional and Nigeria Regional Manager, Paxful, in this interview with GLORIA NWAFOR, speaks about how a cultural shift can advance the cause of women in the society, managing leadership roles amid COVID-19 pandemic and how women can create a better world through collective efforts.

How would you describe the importance of this year’s International Women’s Day, themed #ChooseToChallenge?
International Women’s Day is important because it gives us an opportunity to celebrate our collective achievements. These are achievements we should be celebrating every day of the year. It is set aside to celebrate our roles in political, economic, and social achievement in our respective families and cultures across the globe.   
 
This year’s edition is particularly important as it celebrates women’s leadership role amid a global pandemic.
We all have an individual duty to challenge the status quo and this is how collectively, we will create a better world. All of us need to speak out when we see injustice, just as it is important to speak out and celebrate women’s achievements.

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How do women’s individual and collective actions, as well as conversations and mindset impact on advancing the cause of women?
Every woman should learn to speak up irrespective of where she is – home, in the classroom or in the workplace. A cultural shift is needed and that can only happen when every one of us takes responsibility. If you are a woman, how will you speak out and celebrate yourself and your sisters? And if you are a man, how will you become an ally of your mother, sister or daughter?

Considering your achievements and successes, how would you encourage the girl child that feels limited by her circumstance and does not think her dreams are achievable?
As a child growing up, my dad used to say to me, “I am raising you as a man, not a woman. You need to learn how to think your thoughts. Study and work hard and you will achieve whatever you want.” I think these words made me curious about the world, made me question why things are the way they are. So, when I hear too often that as women, something is not for us, or that we can’t do something, I ask myself, why? I remind myself of my dad’s words and I go for it. So, to that young woman or girl child, I would say, do not let your thoughts or physical circumstances limit you. You think those things because you had been told by other people. You are not the limitations that other people, circumstances, or your background put on you. When you dream, dream big. It will be tough, there are days you will feel sad, depressed, or knocked down. It is okay to feel that way, but do not stay down for too long. Get up, try again, and keep going, knowing fully well that you can do anything you set your mind on.

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What are the challenges that come with leadership position and carrying out your roles as a regional manager?
As Nigeria regional manager, I take responsibility for our business in my country. I have a wonderful team, both here in Nigeria and globally and that support, no matter what is happening, means a lot and makes the job easier. The most rewarding thing is hearing our customers’ stories about how Paxful helps them and their families through the power of cryptocurrency. We are also giving back to our community through the Built with Bitcoin Foundation. We have already built one school in Nigeria in Ankara Nandu Village, Kaduna State. The fact that we are giving back in this way and helping to provide access to education for all children, especially in an environment where the female gender is not encouraged to be literate, is encouraging and hugely rewarding.

For that young woman aspiring to build her career in the industry you operate, what is your advice?
Be curious. The cryptocurrency sector is just starting; there is so much potential and opportunity for us too. There is a plethora of information on the Internet; it all starts with a simple Google search.

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