• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Closing the gender gap in leadership: Wilan calls for action on key areas

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The Women in Leadership Advancement Network (WILAN) has issued a comprehensive statement outlining key areas essential to achieving gender-balanced leadership in Nigeria.

The global nonprofit organisation, dedicated to inspiring gender-balanced leadership across public, political, and social spheres, highlighted Nigeria’s unique challenges in achieving gender equality.

“While strides have been made in recent years, significant disparities persist across various sectors, hindering not only the well-being of women in leadership but also the nation’s overall development potential,” emphasised a statement from the group issued on Monday.

According to WILAN, Nigeria’s journey towards gender equality requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses disparities across education, economic empowerment, political participation, health, and societal norms.

Education emerged as a cornerstone for progress, with WILAN calling for increased funding targeted at girls, particularly in rural areas.

The organisation stressed the importance of addressing cultural barriers that impede girls’ access to education, along with improving the quality of education and emphasising STEM fields and life skills.

The economic disparity was identified as another significant hurdle. WILAN urged support for female entrepreneurs through skills training, microfinance access, and mentorship programmes.

The organisation advocated for tackling discriminatory business practices and advocating for equal legal footing for women entrepreneurs.

Political representation also remains a challenge, with women’s voices notably absent in Nigerian politics. WILAN proposed implementing quotas or reserved seats for women in government and promoting political awareness and participation among women.

Addressing discriminatory practices and party structures that hinder women’s involvement were highlighted as critical steps.

Healthcare access disparities pose significant challenges, with WILAN calling for investment in infrastructure and training more female healthcare professionals, especially in rural areas.

Additionally, promoting sexual and reproductive health education and addressing gender-based violence were emphasised as crucial interventions.

Dismantling deeply entrenched social norms and gender stereotypes emerged as perhaps the most fundamental challenge. WILAN recommended public awareness campaigns, educational initiatives, and engagement with religious and community leaders to challenge harmful beliefs.

Abosede George-Ogan, the founder of WILAN, emphasised, “This journey requires sustained commitment and continued efforts from every individual and institution within society.”

By addressing these key areas and fostering collaboration across government, civil society, the private sector, and individual citizens, Nigeria can unlock the full leadership potential of its women and girls, paving the way for a more just, equitable, and prosperous nation for all.