Female Executives Launch Advocacy Group for Women in Manufacturing

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Blessing Abah

An independent non-partisan organisation, the Women in Manufacturing in Africa (WIM Africa) has been unveiled in Lagos. Ogun state Commissioner for Agriculture Mrs. Adepeju Adebajo, who pioneered the idea while she was Managing Director at Lafarge Africa Plc, said, WIM Africa will motivate women to grow, learn, share and inspire each other for the growth of the manufacturing sector.

Another founding member of WIM Africa, the Director of Communications Public Affairs and Sustainable Development, Lafarge Africa, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem said WIM Africa will ultimately encourage girls to take keener interest in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects in primary and secondary schools as a way of growing the pipeline of women that take up careers in the manufacturing sector.

At the well-attended event which held recently in Lagos, the Executive Vice President Unilever Nigeria and Ghana, Yaw Nsarkoh said, “Africa stands to benefit tremendously if more women are empowered to hold leadership positions in manufacturing and other sectors. The manufacturing sector offers opportunities for women to make their contributions to its development and the continent as a whole.”

His views were echoed by Unilever’s Finance Director, Sotade Peters-Adesola who said the manufacturing sector offers opportunities for women to make their contributions to its development and the nation as a whole.

Giving a welcome address, one of the new organisation’s founding members, the Deputy Manager, Access Bank, Mrs. Opeyemi Wemi-Jones said “while cultural biases and misconceptions have been driven by both men and women, the onus is on women to challenge the status quo through consistent excellence in their chosen fields”.

The Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe commended the WIM Africa initiative. He said “Access Bank has always supported gender equality over the years and would support the WIM Africa initiative”.

He further said Access Bank’s W initiative, which was exclusively designed for the socio economic empowerment of women was proof of the Bank’s avowed support for women empowerment.

More so, the Country CEO of Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Michel Puchercos said, “women, if thoroughly empowered, could potentially become the engine room of production for any society.” He said Africa should take advantage of its huge young female population to advance the cause of manufacturing on the continent.

The organisation believes that while cultural biases and misconceptions have been driven by both men and women, the onus is on women to challenge the status quo through consistent excellence in their chosen fields.
WIM Africa hopes to inspire and attract more women to the manufacturing sector through advocacy, mentorship and direct support for worthy causes and initiatives.

Manufacturing concerns in Nigeria and around Africa have largely been dominated by men over the years, but the field is slowly expanding with the emergence of notable women in business around the continent, who have achieved giant strides and are commanding respect in their various fields and specific professions.

Another organisation called Women in Business (WIMBIZ) has also tried to make a difference in the world of business and commerce in Nigeria and beyond, while several non-governmental organisations have consistently advocated for better lives and opportunities for both professional and grassroots women.