If economic inequality is the monster from legend that imprisons women behind iron bars of misery and deprivation, Aisha Babangida is the conquering heroine who has taken on the mission to rescue them from this bondage. The daughter of former first lady Maryam Babangida has already proved her mettle in the areas of women empowerment and social justice yet she is determined to go one step further.
Born from the depths of her determination is the AFRICA500 Initiative, a mission that trains and empowers businesswomen to improve the economic situation in countries throughout Africa. She believes that the few women who reside at the apex of business organizations hold the key to not just economic development but also social upliftment.
Therein lies the motivation behind her renewed focus on teaching female CEOs to become powerful spearheads of economic booms in their communities. She believes that placing women in strategic positions to influence communal economic fortunes is a sure recipe for fostering and reinforcing social values since women have traditionally been the pollinating agents of social and cultural norms.
Hence, in line with the UN Social Development Goals (SDGs), Aisha’s AFRICA500 will seek out five hundred outstanding helmswomen and equip them with necessary tools and competencies to help grow the economies and close income gaps in their respective countries.
A veteran of the campaign for gender equality, Aisha is of the opinion that “female entrepreneurs should play a central role” in the movement to achieve the SDGs because “women who start a business tend to be motivated by social and environmental values” in contrast to the pecuniary motives of the average man.
The Better Life for Rural Women programme is one offshoot of Aisha’s belief that women, whether in urban or remote areas, are capable of being so much more than childbearing vessels and glorified domestic chefs. They possess the acumen to create thriving and sustainable economic ventures and foster lasting social camaraderie if only they are given the tools and opportunities available to their male counterparts. Hence Aisha’s mission to place in their hands figurative chisels so they can freely sculpt their destinies and the destinies of their communities and nations.