The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has joined the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigerian Exchange Limited and the International Finance Corporation to renew calls for more gender-focused initiatives that will create increased opportunities for women in leadership, employment, and entrepreneurship in the Nigerian private sector.
They made these calls during the inaugural edition of the Gender Leader Awards which was held in Lagos on Thursday.
Being implemented under the Nigeria2Equal program, the GLA is designed to recognise and celebrate private-sector companies leading the way in gender equality performance.
The hybrid event brought together captains of industry, capital market regulators, policymakers, and investors among others.
Delivering his keynote address, Sanwo-Olu, while commending the IFC and NGX, said the programme was transforming the landscape for gender equality across the nation.
He noted that no nation could achieve its full potential without harnessing the full opportunity women present.
He said, “Gender equality is not only a normal imperative, but also an economic necessity, as it is essential for sustainable development and the overall prosperity of our nation. Therefore, I am proud to say that Lagos State is at the forefront of these efforts, and we are dedicated to promoting initiatives that empower women and girls and provide equal opportunities for all.
Earlier in her opening remark, the Regional Director, Central Africa, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, Dahlia Khalifa, citing a World Bank report, said the global economy suffers a staggering loss of $172tn due to the disparities in lifetime earnings between women and men, a loss that all economies are suffering.
“When there is an ecosystem that provides equal opportunities for women and men, more women thrive and that can contribute more meaningfully to Nigeria’s economic growth. Increasing women’s participation in leadership positions can foster diversity”, Khalifa said.
The Chief Executive Officer, NGX, Temi Popoola, said that as a leading multi-asset exchange catalysing Africa’s sustainable development, NGX’s commitment to business practices that support diversity and inclusion is resolute.
Popoola stated that all stakeholders in the market and society at large have a responsibility to drive change not only within organisations but in society at large.
The Group Chairman, NGX Group, Umaru Kwarainga, in his remarks said, “The population of our country Nigeria is almost equally divided between the male and the female gender and we cannot afford to leave either gender behind if our country Nigeria is to move forward.
In a goodwill message, the Director-General, SEC, Lamido Yuguda, who was represented by Deputy Director, Exchanges at SEC, Mahmud Mukthar, lauded NGX and IFC’s efforts and called on companies to engage in activities that promote gender equality and the creation of more opportunities for women to ensure a more inclusive capital market and the economy as a whole.