Awosika Seeks Improved Work Environments for Women

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Ibukun Awosika
Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), Mrs Ibukun Awosika

Nume Ekeghe

The Chairman of FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, has called on Nigerian businesses to create structured and more conducive environments that would keep women in workforce especially those who are discouraged after child bearing years.

She said this yesterday at a webinar organised by the United Nations (UN) and Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR), in commemoration of International Women’s Month (IWM) 2021, where over 100 women converged to discuss, ‘An Inter-generational Dialogue on Women’s Leadership in the Private Sector.’

Awoshika said: “We need to build systems that keep women at work. We need to build systems that allows women to play to win at all fronts.

“One thing is clear that if we want to build back smartly post Covid-19 and we want to build beyond the pandemic in a resilient and sustainable manner, we cannot leave women out because women represent smart economics.

“It is a known proven business case that women are good business. Having presentation of women in our decision process makes economic sense so you do not have blind spots. We must find smart ways of keeping women at work.”

She added: “As employers of labour or corporate leaders, we must take corporate decisions that enables our women workforce to have equal opportunities to effectively work and deliver the right kind of value for our organisation.

“When we empower the women to add value to economic growth, we are building the economy of our nation in a way that our businesses benefit from it.”

According to her, “the fact that the world did not economically shut down and that a lot more tools have been created to meet the dilemma of the world over the last 14 months, proves the fact that we can create a new way to work in way that women do not need to leave or abandon their careers simply because they have to do responsibilities that are natural to them.”

On her part, the United Nations Country Representative, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, noted that 25 years after the Beijing conference, progress has been mixed in accommodating inclusion of women in the workforce and maintained that a lot more needs to be done.

She said: “There has been some progress in reducing maternal mortality, more girl child education and women in decision making but it has been slow

“We need to look at continuity in canvasing gender equality because the women who were at the conference are 25 years older and there is need to groom s fresh generation to carry on the agenda.”

“The private sector has a critical role to play in gender equality in Nigeria, particularly the private sector, women are breaking glass ceilings but there is room to put more women in Leadership roles in both the public and private sector.”