The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mandated each bank operating in the country to publish gender positions of its workforce in its annual reports beginning year end 2013.
The CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said on Thursday that this policy is to further push deliberate effort of the apex bank at ensuring that women get to the top management positions of banks and particularly break the trend of gender inequalities in the country. And this is also to assess how far the banks have complied with the CBN’s agreement with them in this regard, he added.
“This year, what you will find is that when banks publish their annual accounts, we have required that every bank must publish gender positions. So it’s like a name and shame thing and to expose those banks that have been side-lining women. And even the central bank would publish these figures on how many women that various banks have at different levels, so there is a lot of pressure on those institutions that have fallen behind to catch up,” he said.
Sanusi was speaking in Abuja at the 5th Annual Lecture of Isaac Moghalu Foundation as the key note speaker of the event titled, ‘Women in Leadership…the Education Pipeline.’
Sanusi has been a strong advocate of women empowerment and in realisation of the need to help them reach their potential has pushed several policies at the Central Bank of Nigeria in their favour.
For instance, the CBN under his watch went into an agreement with the banks in 2012 and declared it the year for women even though some of the deliverables then could not be achieved and may be accomplished this year.
The apex bank also got the banks to agree that by 2014, at least 30 percent of the board seats in the Nigerian banks will be held by women and that not less than 40 percent of senior management positions will also be held by women.
Moreover, the governor has consciously been attacking the territories that have been held by men at the CBN placing women in such positions like director, baking supervision position, internal audit, branch operations, consumer protection, among others, all of which were rudimentary male positions but currently being run by women in the apex bank.
Sanusi regretted that within the fifty years of CBN existence, only four women have risen to the director position. But today, there are eight female directors and according to him, it comes from a conscious effort of changing the status quo by deliberately going out to look for qualified women to do these jobs.
Delivering his lecture, Sanusi told the audience that for instance that the CBN has a ‘strong woman’ as the present head of the consumer protection department and that she has in the last one year recovered N6 billion for customers that were cheated by banks, debiting the defaulting banks to pay back the customer.
“The women are strong and hardworking and we must encourage them,” he reiterated.
But he also lashed out at some women who when they even get to leadership positions do not help their fellow folks who remain voiceless.
“If you are a female minister and you spend four years and you cannot say after those four years what you were able to do for women, shame on you”. He urged the non-governmental organisations and the civil society groups to begin to ask the questions about what these women are doing to better the lots of their fellow women. Sanusi is hopeful that such push will definitely force a change in government policies in favour of women.
Reading out some numbers, the governor raised concerns about inequalities against women even in education.
ONYINYE NWACHUKWU, Abuja