Female captains of industry have emphasised the need to end structures and systems that impede the impartial and fair representation of women across the public and private sector of the Nigerian economy.
They said this at the Bank of Industry (BoI) International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 Conference with theme: “Embrace Equity” on Monday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IWD celebrated annually on March 8 is a day set aside to celebrate the achievements of women and address issues that hinder women development across the globe.
Mrs Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, noted that the 2023 IWD theme ’embrace equity’ presented a true representation that levelled the playing field for both sexes.
She noted that to build an equitable system, one must first understand and take into cognisance the challenges that women faced and provide tailored support for both personal and professional development.
“Equity is a means to achieving gender equality and we must remain committed to addressing systems and structures that stifle women growth.
“We must continue to speak out against gender inequality and violence, provide equitable access to finance, enhance entrepreneurial support.
“We must remove barriers to women’s participation in trade and commerce and push to close wage gaps between sexes,” she said.
Katagum assured that the Federal Government as part of its commitment to advancing the cause of women had taken steps to advance the welfare of women and promote equity.
She noted that a high level council on women’s economic empowerment in Nigeria was recently inaugurated to serve as an empowerment platform for public and private sector discourse and collaboration for women.
“At the same time, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the women economic empowerment policy dialogue and two Federal Government flagship programs which are the Adolescent Girls Initiative Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) and the Nigerian Women Project supported by the world bank.
“I, therefore, encourage everyone to become involved in these initiatives and look for ways be a part of it as women have a right to employ, fair working conditions.
“We must continue to foster the right conditions and capacities for women everywhere to achieve their full economic potentials.
“At the policy levels, we must ensure that trade policy and public procurement works for women given the important role women play in the economy,” he said.
Chief Nike Akande, first female Minister of Industry, stated that BoI’s commitment to elevating women showed in the role they played in the bottom-up development process for women.
Akande announced her resolve to rededicate the rest of her life to motivating and inspiring the Nigerian girl child and women to become the best they could be in any sphere of life.
This, she explained, was part of her commitment to championing mentorship and the handholding that promising women needed to get to their full potentials.
She charged women and young girls to continue to add value to their lives to make them distinguished and at par to compete across any sector of the world.
“In order to excel beyond the gaps in this highly competitive world, we have to work twice as hard as men.
“While women are noted for their patience, tolerance, endurance and multitasking capabilities to enable them excel at work and at home, it is important that we mentor and handhold some of us.
“I, hereby, as a way to end the long view that women were their own enemies, assure you of our readiness to mentor and handhold promising young women as they navigate their way to the top.
“I also challenge us all to support more women into electable or other leadership positions and adopt women and mentor them to boost them into achieving their potentials,” she said.(NAN)