The First Lady of Ekiti State, Mrs Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi says women in management and leadership have a pivotal role to play in achieving socio-economic development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.
Adeleye-Fayemi spoke at the opening ceremony of the two-day 18th Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) conference, on Thursday in Lagos.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the first lady told a group of women that the country had featured poorly on most global indicators measuring Gender Equity and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE).
According to her, the 2014 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report rated Nigeria 118 out of 177 countries; World Bank Gender Equality Measure Report gave Nigeria 158 out of 177; and in 2016, the UNDP Gender Inequality Index rated Nigeria 152 out of 188 in 2017.
The first lady said that not only did Nigeria not meet any of the original Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), if care was not taken, it might not meet most of the SDGs in 2030 either.
“Women still suffer from the feminization of poverty, lack of access to basic resources, diseases, violent conflict, use of culture and tradition.
“Women are the force and we have to keep going and ensure we engage patriarchal norms and values, all the traditions, structures, economic, socio, religious that tell us we are second class; we need to keep going at them,’’ she said.
Adeleye-Fayemi explained the concept of “women and the wrapper”, saying it signified a stronger force of support for other women.
“Our wrapper signifies beauty, responsibility, respect, compassion, unity, solidarity and cooperation; we cannot go through life without being supported by other people.
“We should not expect that we can achieve any sense of greatness if we are not prepared to support others, especially to climb the ladder of success,’’ she said.
The first lady also highlighted an eight-point strategy, which she said, was necessary to win.
She listed the points as: understanding patriarchal power and privilege; use legislative and policy framework to break barriers; have an agenda; planning a legacy to shape the future; politically engaged; mentoring and inter-generational organizing; bring out your wrapper for other women; and prepare your life’s transition.
The Chairperson, Executive Council of Wimbiz, Mrs Olubunmi Aboderin-Talabi, said that the conference was to point to the inherent ability that was latent within each person to make something of the future.
Aboderin-Talabi said: “We all have the capacity to be proactive in shaping the outcome of our lives; being reactionary or passive limits the range of our choices. The future takes the form we give it.
“If we do not deliberately take steps to shape the future we desire for ourselves, our family and community, then, it is as though we have inadvertently given other people permission to determine how our lives turn out.
“This conference will give participants not just the inspiration they need to gather their strength and forge ahead, but also the techniques.’’
Aboderin-Talabi said that the conference would afford participants to learn how to develop, discover, gain, reach, overcome, rise, mitigate and negotiate in their various fields.
NAN reports that Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, Chairman of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, who was a moderator on the ‘Collaborating the Win: Navigating the Old Boys Club’ panel, said that women across Africa were most likely to participate in the informal economy than in the formal employment.
Ogunbanjo said: “Women continue to play lower roles than men in leadership and business. which result to lower access to control of resources for women. According to a 2018 report, women occupy 25 per cent of managerial positions globally.
“Women are more likely to participate in the informal economy than in formal employment. Across Africa, women are more likely to work in agriculture or a low productivity work environment, but in the managerial positions, the percentage of women is significantly low for women than for men.
“Less than 6 per cent of seats in parliaments are occupied by women. While some progress has been made to increase women participation in decision making levels of leadership and business, progress is relative.
“To shift the paradigm is the Old Boys Club concept, through which men use their positions or influence by providing favour and information among other men,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the two-day conference is organised to inspire and empower women to attain leadership positions in business, management and public service.
No fewer than 800 participants from across the country were present at the opening ceremony, which featured plenary sessions on different areas of management and leadership to spur women to take action.
NAN reports that the conference will feature a raffle draw daily, where two participants will win return tickets to Dubai, sponsored by Konga.
Edited by Oluwole Sogunle