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Features: Women breaking glass ceilings?



Features: Women breaking glass ceilings?

By Rukayat Moisemhe

Many, with the trend of appointments, especially in the private sector in Nigeria, see women as shattering glass ceilings in their numbers.

For the past two years, Ms. Toki Mabogunje and Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu have served as Chairmen of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Mines and Industry, respectively. agriculture (NACCIMA).

More recently, women such as Dr Ije Jidenma, Dame Adebola Williams, Dr Chinyere Almona and Ms Bisi Adeyemi have stepped forward to fill delicious, sensitive and economically important positions in their respective institutions.

Jidenma is the newly elected president of the Institute of Directors (IoD); Williams, President, Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC); Adeyemi, President, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC); while Almona is the new Executive Director of LCCI.

This rise of women, many see it as a positive development, and seek more, especially in the political space. with the will to achieve the assertion of 35 percent included in the Beijing action plan.

Beijing’s popular declaration for the political empowerment of women in 1995 to the tune of 35 percent demands governments, international organizations and civil society groups to take a series of measures to strengthen the political empowerment of women .

in Nigeria, the National Gender Policy (NGP) recommends positive action of 35 percent and aims for a more inclusive representation of women in elective and nominative political positions in the public service.

Globally, women constitute more than half of the world’s population and are vital contributors to the development of society at large, assuming key roles as mothers, producers, housewives, community organizers, as well as socio-cultural activists. and policies.

Despite the numbers, however, some experts claim that the participation of women in Nigeria as board members, leaders of choice organizations and in the political space is still low.

This, they say, is thus in the context of the benchmark requirement of Beijing’s assertion.

Mabogunje believes that although women have come to excel in all fields, as scientists, politicians, business leaders, professionals, technocrats, among others, progress in Nigeria is slow, especially in space. Politics.

Politically, women in the Ninth Assembly represent seven of the 109 members of the Senate and 13 of the 360 ​​of the Federal House of Representatives.

She said that a greater place should be given to women, with appointments to elective and nominative positions, to ensure the implementation of the Beijing Declaration, the sustainable development goal on gender equality. and Nigeria’s national gender policy and framework.

Mabogunje noted that Nigerian women have proven to be more than capable, skilled and experienced to fill the available positions, and demonstrate their expertise and resourcefulness should the opportunity arise.

She recalled the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2012 which required that each bank operating in the country publish the gender positions of its workforce in its annual reports starting at the end of 2013.

This, said the president of the LCCI, demonstrated that the recent rise of women at the head of financial institutions in Nigeria was not accidental.

“Nine years ago, policies were put in place in financial institutions that enabled competent, experienced and well-qualified women to access these positions.

“So the institutions where you see women moving into leadership positions are institutions that are imbued with a culture of inclusion.

“As a result, these institutions experience better bottom lines, market competitiveness and strategic corporate leadership.

“Other business entities and organizations that are watching the successes of these institutions are slowly convinced to open up the leadership space for women,” she said.

Mabogunje tasked women to keep pace with today’s knowledge-based economy of intellectual capital, change (uncertainty and risk) and globalization that rules the world.

“Young women need to understand that it is very important for them to be competent and knowledgeable about the work they are doing.

“Everyone faces challenges in career, politics and business, especially as you move up the corporate ladder.

“It turns out that it’s still a man’s world; as we continue to fight for gender equality, women need to know that they will probably have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts for the same promotion, ”she said.

Ms. Chinonso Okechukwu, focal person of the Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF), said that the participation of women in Nigerian politics and their representation in decision-making offices is important.

Okechukwu said, however, that politically, women had taken a back seat, despite efforts by non-governmental organizations following the Beijing declaration.

She noted that Nigerian women were still marginalized due to the leadership style inherent in the country, with huge underlying structural challenges.

The gender equality activist said the under-representation of women in political participation took root due to the patriarchal practice inherent in society, much of which was evident from the pre-colonial era until this day.

She, however, said the reintroduction of democratic governance had seen an increase in women’s political participation in both elective and nominative positions in Nigeria, albeit with minimal representation.

Okechukwu advised political parties to create a support network for potential candidates by pairing them with established female politicians.

These politicians, she said, would act as mentors and build the capacities of young or aspiring women, in order to develop them before the next election.

“Despite the challenges women face, women’s activism and advocacy, the education of women, the positivity of successive governments towards the empowerment of women and the interest of women in participating in politics are receiving a lot of attention. positive energy.

“It is an indication that the participation of women in politics has a bright future,” she said.

Adeyemi, the newly-elected president of the NBCC, believes women should do their best because they can do beyond breaking the proverbial limiting glass ceiling.

“For me, successful leadership in general, whether you are a man or a woman, involves empowering yourself and doing what you are given to do to the best of your ability, not because you are a woman, but because you are a person of excellence, ”she said. (NANFeatures)

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