• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Examining the IWD, Wema Bank’s ‘She Empowers Her Award’ by SARA and five iconic winners

Wema Bank unveils cohort 2 of FGN-Alat digital skillnovation initiative

International Women Day (IWD), marked annually on March 8, not only offers women globally the opportunity to bring issues of concern to them and society to the fore, but it also presents a platform to celebrate the iconic achievements of women in various fields of endeavour. In Nigeria, the 2024 edition of the ‘She Empowers Her Award’ by SARA recognised five iconic women who, in addition to making an impact on their own, are also empowering other women. Joshua Bassey

For some, the idea of success for women means compromising on other aspects of life that they may desire, like a social life or family.

Read also: IWD: Wema Bank earmarks N8.9bn for empowerment of women

For some strange reason, the belief has been that a woman cannot succeed in her personal and professional life without hurting the home front. That notion has since changed, and society is better for it.

Indeed, not only are women shattering the ceiling in their chosen careers, but they are also aiding and empowering other women to climb the life ladder and make an impact in society.

In advocacy for gender equality, celebrating women who empower other women is as important as empowering women. Of course, celebrating women and spotlighting their achievements empowers other women to believe that their dreams are achievable and that the gap in gender equality can be bridged.

This is where Wema Bank has earned a reputation: creating opportunities and helping women achieve their goals. One platform the financial institution has leveraged for women-focused propositions is SARA by Wema Bank. The lender also recently launched the ‘SHE EMPOWERS HER Award’ by SARA, thus breaking new ground in women’s empowerment.

The financial institution launched this new award at its 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8. In line with the IWD 2024 theme, ‘Inspiring inclusion, the award was introduced to celebrate the exceptional achievements of women who have not only reset the standards in their respective fields but are instrumental in empowering other women and inspiring more inclusion for women.

Among the criteria for the SHE EMPOWERS HER Award by SARA are ‘women in leadership roles in society (no preference to sector or industry); ‘the woman with professional or career achievements; ‘the woman who has used initiatives or programmes to empower people in the society; and ‘the woman with socio-economic contributions in the society, among others.

The bank didn’t just give the award to the most popular woman who fit the criteria. It had a select group of professionals—85 female nominees—from which an internal jury selected the top 20. These top 20 nominees were reviewed by an independent auditor who verified the selection process and charged the internal jury with selecting the top 9 finalists. These include Adebola Agunbiade, Adesumbo Adeoye, Bunmi George, Debola Deji-Kurunmi, Funke Felix-Adejumo, Mary Kristilere, Nnenna Mosugu, Safiya Ibn Garba, and Seyi Oluyole.

These nominees are role models with exceptional career achievements who have empowered other women and young girls to thrive financially, intellectually, socially, and in other matters.

They cut across sectors: fitness, banking, business, religion, leadership, education, and entertainment. The nomination is such that it allows every girl to see her future self in at least one nominee, and this is what makes the difference.

Whereas there are platforms that celebrate achievements in the formal and informal sectors separately, there aren’t many that cater to both the formal and informal sectors. This is a feature that makes the SHE EMPOWERS HER Award unique.

Indeed, the real value of the term ‘Inspiring Inclusion’ is in the details, and Wema Bank prioritises that.

Although the top nine nominees were recognised, the target, however, was the top five. The task of shortlisting the top five employed a different approach. This time, the bank opened the process to the public, allowing customers to determine the emergence of the five iconic women who were revealed at the Wema Bank International Women’s Day 2024 event.

They include Adebola Agunbiade, Adesumbo Adeoye, Debola Deji-Kurunmi, Funke Felix-Adejumo, and Mary Kristilere.

Read also: Wema Bank empowers MSMEs with payment solutions

Adesunmbo Adeoye:

Adesunmbo is passionate about multifaceted impact. She’s the convener of the Inspiring Change Conference, an annual life-changing event borne out of the urge to impact the lives of women, inspire boldness for change, and transform the lives of women striving to lead in their diverse professions.

Her conference has evolved over the past ten years to become one of the most inspiring women’s conferences in the country, imparting knowledge and expertise to produce educated women equipped as future leaders and assets for nation-building.

Adebola Agunbiade:

She is an economist and chartered accountant with over 22 years of experience in various aspects of accounting and leads CandourCrest Group, a prominent finance and leasing company in Nigeria. Recognised as a leader in finance, Adebola served as the former CEO of CFS Financial Services and became the first female president of the Finance Houses Association of Nigeria. Leveraging her background, she has positively impacted numerous businesses and individuals by providing financial support and sharing knowledge, skills, and experiences acquired over the years, standing as a role model for many women.

Debola Deji-Kurunmi:

Debola is an author, coach, and leader of IMMERSE Coaching Company and Ideation Hub Africa. She has impacted thousands of women through coaching and public policy advisory. Recognised globally for her leadership, she’s honoured as Nigeria’s leading coach and among Africa’s most inspiring voices. She has authored 24 books and spoken internationally to diverse audiences on leadership and purpose.

Funke Felix Adejumo:

Funke, the president of the Funke Felix-Adejumo Foundation, is a passionate advocate for womanhood and philanthropy. Through her work, she’s impacted millions globally, establishing initiatives like Grace Orphanage and a Children’s Hospital. With over 50 authored books, she continues to inspire and empower women worldwide, sharing her story of divine assistance and family bliss.

Mary Kristilere:

Mary is a pastor and woman passionate about God, family, and humanity. She empowers women through the Blessed Above Women Conference (BAWCO) and simultaneously provides assistance to victims of sexual assaults while combating sexual abuse through the UASA (United Against Sexual Abuse) Foundation. Additionally, she leads the FITAH Foundation, which helps women adopt healthier lifestyles.

These women are living proof that the box is an illusion, that the capabilities and capacities of women are limitless, and that women can achieve success across diverse areas of their lives. These women have reset the standards for success, building successful empires and enviable careers that show younger women that greatness is achievable and every woman can accomplish much more. Their unique profiles and stories are a testament to the duality of women: the ability to succeed both in their personal lives as women and in their professional lives as experts in their field.

Read also: Wema Bank rallies importers, exporters for seamless international trade

According to Wema Bank, by celebrating the accomplishments, achievements, and impact of these women, the finance institution has taken a leap in its empowerment of women and inspiring inclusion for the female gender.

The lender has also become the first in the Nigerian banking sector to launch its own award platform to celebrate others. The norm is for banks and personalities within the banking system to receive awards from awarding bodies.

It has begun with the recognition of women. With this, Wema Bank is not only offering financial services; it is also diversifying its empowerment portfolio beyond solutions, products, and propositions to include recognition.