BusinessDay

Gender gap: Lafarge raises female board representation to 45.5%

Lafarge Africa, a leading sub-Saharan Africa building solutions company has emerged as the corporate with the most women on its board in 2020.

While 20.9 percent of the board directorships of the Nigeria Stock Exchange top 20 companies by market capitalisation were held by women, Lafarge increased female representation on its board from 40 percent in 2019 to 45.5 percent in 2020.

This came to light during the virtual launch of the Nigeria2Equal (N2E) Peer Learning Platform and Gender Gap Assessment Report, a collaboration between International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX). Lafarge emerged as one of the top five performing companies blurring the gap in gender roles, encouraging equality and diversity within its ranks.

During the virtual launch of the report, Khaled El Dokani, the country chief executive officer, Lafarge Africa represented by Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, the communications, public affairs and sustainable development director said the company was delighted for this recognition.

“At Lafarge, we are further driven by narrowing the gap which is a particular nuance in the manufacturing sector. To underscore this, we have set ambitious diversity and inclusion targets,” she said.

Read also: Social norms and gender inequality in the workplace

Similarly, Gbemiga Owolabi, the human resources director of Lafarge Africa noted that the company believes that its success is directly linked to how diverse and inclusive the company is.

“We continue to improve on our various employee initiatives towards ensuring that every employee has the same opportunity, irrespective of gender, to excel,” He added.

Championing the call for more inclusion of women in leadership, the release of the inaugural edition of the PWR NGX Top 20 Gender diversity scorecard galvanised huge momentum in corporate Nigeria, raising awareness of the business case for gender diversity in boardrooms.

In 2020, 20.9 percent of the board directorships of the Nigeria Stock Exchange top 20 companies by market capitalisation were held by women. Going by the results of the PWR NGX Top 20 Gender diversity scorecard, one year later, a growth of 2.3 percent occurred on the wings of the 30 percent female representation of 25 percent – a decline from 30 percent – of the top 20 companies listed on the NGX.

It is no coincidence that the major drivers of this growth can be accorded to the top-performing industries such as financial services, consumer goods, industrial goods, ICT and oil and gas.

“As the first multi-stakeholder country project focused on reducing gender gaps in Nigeria’s private sector companies, Nigeria2Equal is unique in its design to ensure a quantitative approach to improving gender equality amongst the participating companies through careful research,” Oscar N. Onyema, the group managing director and chief executive officer, NGX Group said.

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