• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Mrs Mosun Obembe, MD/CEO, BridgeGap Consults Ltd: “We must confront systemic barriers that hinder women’s economic participation”

Mrs Mosun Obembe, MD/CEO, BridgeGap Consults Ltd: “We must confront systemic barriers that hinder women’s economic participation”

Undoubtedly, Nigeria is endowed with exceptional women who have made a beneficial impact on the nation’s image and standing in their various sectors. These women are involved in politics and business, among other areas of human endeavour. One of these exceptional women is Mrs. Mosun Ibembe, Managing Director and CEO of BridgeGap Consults Ltd. A company that has been providing multidisciplinary professional service to both local and international organizations since 2008. In this special report to celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, the astute and exemplary business acumen talks about the importance of women’s inclusion in the advancement of society. Excerpts…

Mission and Vision of BridgeGap Consults

Mission Statement: To empower organizations and individuals to thrive by fostering a culture of diversity, integrity, and excellence through strategic solutions. Vision Statement: Our vision is to continue being a trusted partner in shaping the future of work. We aim to lead the industry by providing innovative solutions that empower organizations to navigate evolving challenges, cultivate diverse and inclusive workplaces, and achieve sustainable growth. Our commitment to excellence, integrity, and continuous learning drives us to exceed expectations and set new benchmarks for success in the ever-changing work landscape.

Greatest Passion

For me, the excitement lies in creating solutions that bring tangible benefits and joy to others. It’s about using innovation to make positive changes, one step at a time. Simply put, add value.

Theme for International Women’s Day

I believe achieving the “Count Her In” theme in our country requires a multifaceted approach. We first need to prioritize investing in women’s education and skills development. Providing access to quality education and vocational training will equip women with the tools they need to succeed in diverse fields. Take the example of Malala Yousafzai, who defied threats and violence to champion girls’ education globally, becoming the youngest Nobel Prize laureate in history. Secondly, we must confront systemic barriers that hinder women’s economic participation, such as gender-based discrimination in the workplace and unequal pay. Organizations must implement policies that promote gender equality in hiring, promotion, and compensation, as various Nigerian organizations have exemplified.

“According to NGX (Nigerian Exchange Group) publication on “Strengthening the competitiveness of African Economies:2023”, companies like Access Bank, MTN Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC, and Sterling Bank, which were recognized under the Company Leadership Gender Diversity category for their significant representation of women in leadership and key decision-making roles.”

Female entrepreneurs and business owners deserve support to thrive. Access to finance, mentorship, and networking opportunities are essential for success. Let’s look at Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, whose journey from selling fax machines to building a billion-dollar empire underscores the transformative power of entrepreneurship. Ensuring women’s health and well-being are crucial for overall empowerment and advancement. There is a need to provide access to comprehensive healthcare services and reproductive rights while addressing issues of maternal mortality and gender-based violence. Women must be seen and heard in leadership and decision-making roles across all sectors. Breaking down barriers and creating pathways for women to assume leadership positions is essential. For example, Folorunsho Alakija’s achievements continue to inspire women.

Positive Discrimination Initiatives

I advocate for positive discrimination initiatives, which are pivotal in creating a more balanced playing field for women in leadership roles. These initiatives have the power to address deep-rooted inequalities and provide deserving women with opportunities that may have eluded them due to systemic biases. Take, for instance, the implementation of quotas for female representation on corporate boards. This proactive step fosters diversity and brings fresh perspectives and insights to decision-making processes. Similarly, targeted mentorship programs for women aiming for executive positions can unlock their full potential, enhancing organizational performance. By embracing such initiatives, we empower women and enrich our teams with a diverse range of talents and perspectives, driving innovation and success.

Inclusions of Women in Different Leadership Positions

Including women in various leadership positions in public and private sectors reveals progress and highlights ongoing challenges. While strides have been made in increasing the representation of women in leadership roles, disparities persist, indicating that women still face barriers to advancement. Factors such as unconscious bias, lack of mentorship opportunities, and traditional gender norms continue to hinder women’s full participation in leadership. It’s essential to recognize that systemic issues, rather than individual intent, often contribute to marginalization. While progress has been made, there is still work to ensure equal opportunities for women in leadership positions and to combat any forms of marginalization they may face. Marginalization can manifest in various forms, including unequal access to opportunities, lower compensation compared to male counterparts, and exclusion from decision-making processes. While not all men consciously engage in marginalizing behaviours, the prevalence of ingrained gender stereotypes and institutionalized biases can perpetuate unequal treatment.

Impact of Social Media on The Girl Child

Sometimes while scrolling through your social media feed, you are expecting to find posts from friends and updates on current events, only to come across disturbing images and stories of rape and sexual abuse against young girls and women. It’s always painful to read, and it begs the question: Is social media contributing to this alarming trend? Social media has undoubtedly brought about positive changes in connecting people and amplifying voices, but its impact on society, particularly on the female gender, is complex. On one hand, social media platforms have been instrumental in raising awareness about issues such as rape culture, consent, and gender-based violence. Campaigns like #MeToo have empowered survivors to speak out and hold perpetrators accountable, sparking meaningful conversations and driving social change. However, the same platforms that give survivors a voice have also been used to perpetuate harmful attitudes and behaviours. The anonymity and accessibility of social media can encourage perpetrators to harass, shame, and intimidate their victims, exacerbating the trauma of sexual violence. Moreover, the proliferation of graphic content and victim-blaming narratives can desensitize audiences and normalize violence against women. There are cases of social media users sharing viral videos depicting a sexual assault across multiple platforms, amplifying the trauma experienced by the victim and perpetuating harmful stereotypes. Similarly, online forums and chat rooms provide spaces for predators to groom and exploit vulnerable individuals. While social media has the potential to be a force for positive change, it also poses significant challenges in combatting rape and sexual abuse. As a society, we must recognize the dual nature of social media and work towards fostering safer online environments, promoting digital literacy, and holding platforms accountable.

Balancing Home, Work and other Social Obligations

As a woman navigating a career, I’ve found that balancing my home, office, and social responsibilities is like finding harmony in the chaos. It’s not always easy, but with the warmth of my family, a sprinkle of everyday life challenges, and a dash of quality friends and teams, it becomes a journey filled with meaning and fulfilment. At the heart of it all are the relationships I cherish – with my family, colleagues, and friends. These connections infuse my life with joy, laughter, and a sense of belonging. They’re my anchor in the stormy seas of work deadlines and household chores, reminding me of what truly matters. Empathy plays a central role in this balancing act. Whether it’s the pride of achieving a career milestone, the tenderness of a family moment, or the empathy I extend to others, grace guides me through each day with authenticity. I embrace each challenge as an opportunity to learn and evolve, knowing that authenticity is the greatest gift I can offer.

Advice for The Girl Child and Women

My advice for the girl child and women in general is rooted in empowerment, resilience, and authenticity. Believe in yourself. It might not always be easy, but knowing you are worthy of every opportunity and capable of achieving your dreams is the first step in the right direction. Sometimes life happens, and we feel it’s too good to be true. We should instead see it as too good not to be true. We deserve every good thing that comes our way. Never stop learning and growing. Seek knowledge, skills, and experiences that challenge you and help you evolve professionally and personally. No one can take what you know from you. It’s one of your most valued possessions. So, learn, unlearn, and keep learning. Support system: Surround yourself with people who believe in you, uplift you, and champion your success. We all need great people on our side. Failures: It’s part of our everyday life. You sometimes can’t win without failing first. Take it as a stepping stone to success. Don’t let setbacks define you; view them as valuable learning experiences that propel you forward. Embrace your worth, pursue your passions, and chart your path confidently and resiliently. Be you!