Gender equality is a sustainable development goal that has transcended over time to bring its relevance to policy development, corporate governance and workforce culture representation.
The interesting element of gender equality is how it is represented from a private and public sector perspective and its impact on the economy and human capacity development.
Looking at the current state of the market, I have observed the increased representation of women in the workplace especially in executive leadership positions within the private sector. Over the last year, we have seen women being appointed as CEOs and leaders of global markets.
As professionals, women bring something different to the corporate culture. We interpret business objectives using a process comparable to pregnancy or watching something or someone evolve.
From inception, we walk through the corporate objective, identifying the impact of each action taken at each milestone, the soft skills needed to manage any variables, and the precision to see it through to successful completion.
There has also been a rise in the creation of gender-led communities derived from industries that were once only led by our male counterparts in industries such as Technology, Financial Services, and Construction to name a few.
There is a brewing unwavering spirit of women stepping up and stepping out to be seen and most importantly acknowledged for the positive disruption they are causing in their various sectors.
From the inception of this administration, the public sector has seen the appointment of women at the local, state, and federal levels in strategic sectors such as trade and investment, arts, culture and entertainment, employment, tourism, and police affairs which is the first time a woman has occupied the minister of state position.
Over the last year, we have seen women being appointed as CEOs and leaders of global markets.
Even within areas that engage in a public-private capacity such as entrepreneurship, climate change, and regional development; women are sitting in strategic positions of influence.
However, the momentum within the public sector seems to have reached a “bottleneck” with the recent events of some women who have compromised their integrity and that of their various offices.
This has put a dent in our pursuit for more female representation in the public space. While the saying “birds of a feather, flock together” is relative, I cannot help but see this as a textbook reference of defence to hinder the aspirations of genuine female leaders who want to use their expertise to implement transformational initiatives for the betterment of the economy.
These events will heighten the scrutiny of women in leadership and the criteria to assume such a position will be built with a new reform of regression testing, and bottleneck funnelling to “weed out” women they feel could be a potential threat.
The truth is the recent events of misappropriation of funds may close or leave the door ajar to the women in their various capacities who have fought so hard to take the door off its hinges and open it wide for themselves and for others to follow suit.
Now, we are in a space where before we are presented before the house, we would need a sledgehammer to break any door down.
Unfortunately, when an event occurs that compromises the economy and its governance, there is an extra layer of microscopic scrutiny when a woman is involved.
This is simply because the general ideology is that women are the weaker gender, the most vulnerable and subservient yet the most calculative and “law-abiding”.
Even though our male counterparts have been integral to conspiracies, embezzlements, and white-collar fraud since the beginning of time; the matriarch who has fought to be seen and heard has now compromised the agenda.
This is beyond gender equality, our integrity, ethics, and governance adherence are now questionable.
More women are coming into the workforce with a dream that one day they will make a positive impact in government; some women are currently navigating their way through different hierarchies with a political strategy roadmap to hand, while others are already knocking on the door seeking an appointment after they “paying their dues” to society, the economy, and have received their flowers respectfully.
Whatever category the majority fall into, the objective of these women is the same, and that is to showcase the ability to drive impactful initiatives that will reshape the face of our economy.
What is the solution, how can we curb and redirect this emerging narrative?
Honestly, women need to come in front of it, own it, and address these matters head-on; with a “woman in governance” office that is regulated and designed to be accepted using local and international best practice governance policies to be efficient and effective.
The office’s mandate extends beyond vetting women for public service, aiming to identify, develop, and empower them. It fosters expertise, establishes frameworks aligned with their specialisation, and ensures ongoing evaluation by internal and external bodies.
By doing this, we can re-instill the trust in women in leadership in the public sector, identify areas of weakness and improvement and regain the trust. not just of our male counterparts and the nation as a whole; but from the West who may have been looking at Nigeria as a hub for international strategic engagement, and private/public, and non-governmental development.
Oyelade is a EMEA talent acquisition and employability leader with an extensive career spanning across Europe, Middle East, North America, and sub-Saharan Africa.