British High Commission, others stress women’s role in advancing economic development
The need to empower Nigerian women with the skills set required for leadership positions within the business ecosystem across the country was the focal point of speakers at Nigeria Info’s 2022 Glass Ceiling Conference.
The speakers – the British High Commission’s Political Counsellor, Jonathan Bacon; Co-founder, ImpactHER, Efe Ukala; Co-founder and General Partner, FirstCheck Africa, Eloho Omame; Policy Programmes Manager for Africa, Meta, Simbo Olatoregun; Chief Economist, Coronation Merchant Bank, Chinwe Egwim; Chief Executive Officer, Herconomy, Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti; and Founder, Chef Obubu, Christine Obute Otigba – noted that there is a critical need to identify the obstacles hindering women from owning successful and scalable business enterprises within the Nigerian-economic landscape.
The Glass Ceiling conference, which is a brainchild of the Glass Ceiling Show on Nigeria Info, is a platform designed to support the global celebration of International Women’s Day, while also x-raying the issues of female inclusion within the Nigerian socio-economic and political ecosystem.
Commenting on the need for organisations to support female inclusion, Bacon noted that women play an integral role in driving essential changes. This was made evident when he said: “Employers should strive to create a culture where people, especially women, can flourish, while also ensuring that a support system is developed within the structure of the workplace. This is considered to be necessary because the British Government has recognised that women and girls play a critical role in promoting economic growth, which will invariably lift millions of people out of poverty on a global scale.”
He further noted that the British Government’s desire to champion conversations around the inclusion of women is hinged on the fact that women’s rights are human rights.
According to him, “Our action for women inclusion is guarded by three E’s – educating the girl child; empowering women socio-economically and politically; ending violence against women and girls.”
These three E’s underpin the developmental works the British Government is carrying out across Nigeria.”
To support the entrepreneurial activities of Nigerian women, Bacon noted that £74m has been dedicated by the British Government to aid the upscaling of women-owned businesses across the country.
He noted: “During the recent visit of Vicky Ford, the UK Minister for Africa, to Nigeria in February 2022, she announced a new £74m (N41.6b) financial package to support women entrepreneurs across Nigeria, who are facing disproportionate barriers to business. This aims to upscale the business operations of female entrepreneurs, as well as improve the Nigerian economy.”
Urging women to break the bias within the Nigerian business landscape, Ukala advised women to have a structured plan to surmount the challenges they might encounter.
She noted: “Breaking the bias in the boardroom requires you, as a woman, to rise to the top, irrespective of the challenges on the way. This will need you to have a strong purpose, as it is a critical factor in helping you to know what you want to achieve. This will help you to engage in frequent self-assessment, so as to discover how you can make remarkable contributions within the corporate world.”