Onyeka Onwenu, Others Champion Women on Equal Leadership Role in Nigeria

Onyeka Onwenu

Rebecca Ejifoma

While forging ahead as the modernist vanguard for women, the AB Microfinance Bank has pulled together female heavyweights like music icon, Onyeka Onwenu and others to give the Nigerian women the tool to thrive in leadership roles as women seek for 50 per cent participation in policies that influence their wellbeing.

This was their quest at the AB Microfinance Bank conference to commemorate the International Women’s Day 2020 on the theme, ‘Each for Equal; an equal world is an enabled world’.

Among the speakers were: AB Microfinance Bank Ambassador and musician Onwenu; Independent Executive Directors of AB Micro-Finance Bank, Mrs. Modupe Ladipo; Associate Professor at UNILAG, Olusoji George; and the Branch Manager in AB Microfinance Bank Nigeria, Ms. Laura Madukamuo.

For Ladipo, Women’s International Day is a good day for “Us to take stock of where we are, what progress women have made and then set some actions and steps for what we need to do to close the gender gap”.

“In terms of leadership as the world economic forum global gender index indicated, Nigeria is not doing well on the sub-index of political equality. There is a lot of work needed to be done in that space,” she noted.

Meanwhile, she described the Nigerian woman as enterprising. “Women are enterprising in economic opportunities We are growing. We have one of the largest numbers of women business owners across Africa. Although we are doing great things, we just need a bit more to help us excel on a global basis”.

While women keep agitating for equality globally, the executive director frowned at the low representation of women in the house of representative, senate. “There is a very low representation of women. That is where we are. We really need to do a lot of work”.

Driving home her point, Ladioo said it is by having women in NASS positions that women would be able to come up with policies that directly influence and would directly support women in achieving their economic, academic goals and their health and safety.

Her words: “There was no sub-index where Nigeria is at par. Men and women should be at par. We are 50 per cent of the population”.

Ladipo expressed strongly that women needed to work on all aspects and took good note of the UN sustainable goal five – gender equality – think through what some of the action points coming out of that are, and how we want to measure some of the steps we are taking to ensure we are on track.

Indeed, gender equally is a global issue and must be addressed with real intent by the Nigerian government and all arms of government.

She urged: “Women should support other women in position, not using derogatory remarks. It is okay to have an ambition. You are not more or less of a woman because your have those aspirations. Aspirations are not gender specific.”

With a rigid penchant to achieve gender equality across the country, AB Microfinance Bank is doing the talk. It has a larger number of female staffers than male. Ladipo added: “We are contributing very adequately to gender focus”.

She encouraged the bank still: “The only part we are not really contributing significantly in that area is the board. I’m the only female on the board. Besides this, I give AB microfinance bank a star.”

Now, the Ambassador of the bank, Onwenu called on all women to dream big. “If you have a dream and it does not scare you, it is not big enough. Wake up. Be curious. It will help you. Perhaps not today but in the future”.

According to the human right activist, women are multidisciplinary. “They work in offices and homes. They are the organisers. Women are advisers, comforters, teachers, cooks, community workers and they achieve it all.

For these female higher achievers, while equality is paramount, creating business enabling environment, making their voices heard, and representing 50 per cent in the house of assembly are measures to help women be part of policies that would favour them.