• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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SheCan Nigeria: Breaking barriers to success for women in business, family and career

SheCan Nigeria: Beaking barriers to success for women in business, family and career

Can a woman have it all? This question remains as relevant in 2024 as ever since no country has fully achieved gender equality.

According to a United Nations (UN) report, one in three countries has seen no progress since 2015, and in 18 nations, including Venezuela, Afghanistan, and South Africa, conditions for women have worsened.

“At the current pace, it will take another 131 years to achieve global gender equality,” the UN report read. “Currently, only 10% of the world’s Heads of State are women, and women have less than two-thirds of the legal rights that men enjoy.”

Furthermore, Nigeria ranks 123rd out of 146 countries on the gender gap parity index, with women facing significant challenges in achieving decent work.

Data gleaned from the National Gender Policy (2021) and the Women Entrepreneurs Survey (WES) showed women entrepreneurs struggle due to limited access to finance and business development services, hindering the formalisation and growth of their businesses.

Financial illiteracy, balancing career, business and family responsibilities is another major hurdle. Social and cultural barriers also restrict women’s economic opportunities and property rights.

However, to shift the needle to the positive side, the United Nations pointed out the need to invest in women to achieve gender equality and end poverty. This aligns with the theme for the 2024 International Women’s Day: “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.”

One of the means of these investments is through digital marketing tools and social media, as these tools can help women expand their knowledge and market reach. Advocating for gender equality and participating in empowerment movements can also help overcome these barriers.

Another notable example is the SheCan Nigeria platform, a social impact organization founded by Ezinne Ezeani. The mandate is to see every woman do more, transforming countless lives through the SheCan platform.

SheCan Nigeria operates on three pillars: Educate, Empower, and Transform. The Educate platform hosts business and career training programs. The Empower platform includes skill acquisition programs and charity fairs, such as a six-month training for the Girls Correctional Center. The Transform platform focuses on mentorship and personal growth, offering a six-month mentorship program.

SheCan Nigeria’s conferences – under the ‘Transform platform’ – are impactful, bringing together diverse speakers from various fields. The conference, now in its fifth year, featured speakers like Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, Deputy Managing Director of Falcon Corporation, and Grace Ofure Ibhakhomu, Founder of Lifecard International Investment.

The conference, themed, ‘SheCan Do More 5.0,’ reflects the organisation’s commitment to empowering women.

Ezeani, in her opening remarks at the event held recently in Lagos, emphasised the importance of community and support. “My call to everyone today is that you can be human in whatever capacity you find yourself in. It could be that you know how to coach, you know how to be a blessing. Whatever it is, we will be calling.”

“We are thankful to Optiva Capital Partners and other companies for being our headline sponsor and helping us create an impactful platform for women to thrive,” she added.

Jane Kimemia, CEO of Optiva Capital Partners, delivered an inspiring speech on “Positioning for More” in one’s career, stating the importance of self-worth, motivation, and service. “You must have self-worth and believe in yourselves,” she said. “You must believe in your ability to excel and get to the destination that you have set for yourselves.”

Reflecting on her personal journey, Kimemia highlighted the critical role of girl child education in promoting gender equality and women empowerment, stating, “Education is the key to unlocking opportunities for women, creating a ripple effect that positively impacts families, communities, and society.”

Similarly, Grace Ofure, Founder of Lifecard International, in her address, shared her journey to success, emphasising the importance of personal truth and persistence.

She outlined key success principles: prioritising personal truth, establishing a clear vision and mission, being prepared to take action, persistence, and generosity.

Grace said, “Success is measurable at every stage of your life. Visualise your success and seek guidance from those who have achieved similar success.”

She also highlighted the role of education and mindset in overcoming challenges, stating, “Education and mindset are critical in overcoming challenges. A strong, unshakable mindset is essential for success.”

“Generosity and giving are also important aspects of success,” she continued. “Giving back to humanity, your community, and acknowledging your creator are essential for multiplying your grace.”

Demonstrating her commitment to this principle, she announced an all-sponsored traveling to and from any country of a participant’s choice with a valid visa, which sent the audience into a frenzy.

Fela Durotoye, senior special assistant to the President on National Values & Social Justice, during his session, debunked the myth that successful women must sacrifice something.

“Many people believe that successful women can’t have it all, that you must choose what to sacrifice, and that pursuing your dreams means something else must be left behind. I want you to understand that this is a lie from the pits of hell,” he said.

Speaking further, Fela noted the importance of alignment in values with one’s partner, saying, “When your values are aligned, it helps you make all the necessary decisions. Ensure that you can share your vision and values with your partner. If you can do these two things, I am confident you will live a life of heaven on earth.”

On her part, Shaffy Bello, a Nigerian actor, urged the audience to cultivate gratitude, recognize their intentions, and honor mentors. “Success requires discipline; research your goals diligently instead of scrolling through Instagram,” she said.

Also at the event, Tara Fela Durotoye, one of Forbes’ Africa’s 50 most powerful women and founder and CEO of House of Tara International, spoke passionately about the potential for women to achieve success while maintaining fulfilling personal lives.

“A woman can be successful, ambitious, and happily married,” she said. Reflecting on her own journey, she shared, “After 23 years of marriage, we still take annual honeymoons to spend quality time together.”

Encouraging women to strive for excellence, she stressed the need to carefully select influences, surrounding oneself with positive role models. “From a young age, I surrounded myself with women who were happily married, ambitious, and successful. These women became my mentors and role models,” she said.

Tara also emphasised the importance of self-improvement, urging women to strive to become the kind of partner their spouse desires. “Instead of complaining about men, ask yourself if you are the woman men desire. Do more to be more,” she advised.

She concluded by highlighting the significance of setting boundaries to manage one’s power effectively, offering a comprehensive approach to achieving personal and professional fulfillment.