NBCC advocates women empowerment to boost growth

The Nigerian-British Chamber Of Commerce (NBCC) has called for more women empowerment in different sectors of the economy to bridge the gap in gender inequality to foster economic growth.

Speaking at the chamber’s International Women’s Day event on Wednesday, Rally Atelly, president and chairman of the council of NBCC), said women must take the lead in helping them find their voices.

“Be their voices in places of leadership and influence, in courtrooms and assembly rooms. Mentor them, invest in their businesses and sow in them the seed of gallantry,” he added.

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Adeniyi Adekoya, deputy MD, at Synerpet & Weston Limited said there is a need for larger discussions on gender equality within corporations and advocated for its integration into corporate identity and values.

“I have not seen a mission or vision board having gender equality. From a corporate standpoint.”

According to a United Nations report, an additional $360 billion is needed per year to achieve gender equality.

It however noted there has been progress over the last decades, but the world is not still on track to achieve gender equality by 2030, which remains a challenge, with millions of women at risk of living in extreme poverty.

“If current trends continue, more than 342 million women and girls could be living in extreme poverty by 2030,” the report said.

Adesuwa Okunbo-Rhodes, founder and managing partner of Aruwa Capital Management, highlighted the presence of unconscious bias in society in bridging the gap.

“There is an unconscious bias in society with regards to how men are capital providers deemed in the performance of women who are provided capital. Unconscious bias needs to be broken,” Okubo-Rhodes said.

She added the importance of breaking this bias and investing in women-led businesses to foster their growth.

Tinuade Awe, former chief executive officer of NGX Regulation Limited, said investing in women is not only about financial investments, it’s also about investing your time, investing your efforts, and investing your social capital.

“We need to see the lack of investment in women as an actual societal problem, so when you invest in a woman and empower her to fly at that speed, at the heights that she should fly you are affecting the nation, ” Awe said.

The UN report added that closing gender gaps in employment could boost GDP per capita by 20 percent.

“Closing gaps in care and expanding services with decent jobs could spark almost 300 million jobs by 2035,” the report said.

“To ensure women’s needs and priorities are considered, governments must prioritize gender-responsive financing and increase public spending on essential services and social protection,” the report said.

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