Naomi Nwokolo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network in Nigeria, has insisted that gender equality is beneficial to businesses that are inclusive. Nwokolo made this statement at a webinar hosted by the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria in conjunction with the Nigerian Exchange Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC), UN Women, and women executives on the board. The webinar which took place on Wednesday was to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day with the theme, “Embrace Equity: Setting the Standard for a Sustainable Future.”
She said that this inclusiveness ensures a high level of productivity and profitability, an outcome that can only come from implementing diverse and innovative ideas.
“Gender equality is beneficial to businesses that are inclusive; they enjoy the high productivity and profitability that come from implementing diverse, innovative ideas,” she said. “Through our numerous global and local programmes, companies have committed to over 800 interventions, policies, and programmes aimed at advancing gender equality in their companies, and we are open to collaborating with companies eager to address gender equality.”
Speaking at the event, Oscar N. Onyema, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, emphasised the importance of breaking down barriers and challenging biases that impede progress towards equity and inclusion. He urged the creation of more opportunities for women and other underrepresented groups to enter and succeed in the energy industry and stressed the need for our support of them as they advance in their careers.
Beatrice Eyong, country representative of UN Women for Nigeria and ECOWAS, praised the private sector for leading the way in the area of gender equality. She said, “We are looking at the private sector as a good example of women’s empowerment in terms of representation and participation in Nigeria. I use this opportunity to call upon all of you to advocate for and contribute to women’s representation in leadership positions. There are potentials of digital technology solutions for women, especially those with disabilities: technology put in their hands can help them contribute more to the development of their nations.”
Meanwhile, Dahila Khalifa, IFC Regional Director, said that more needed to be done to close the gender gap in the workplace, insisting that “gender equity is a smart business strategy.”
The webinar featured a fireside chat about creating safe spaces for women to thrive as well as a panel discussion about financial independence: challenging the status quo for an equal tomorrow. The event provided a forum for participants to share best practises and insights on how to create a more equitable and sustainable future for all.
The International Women’s Day webinar represents an important step forward in the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria’s efforts to promote gender equity and women’s empowerment in the country. Over time, the event has aided in raising awareness, forming partnerships, and identifying opportunities for action in the direction of a more sustainable future for all by bringing important stakeholders together.