The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, on Thursday called for strategies to increase the number and influence of women in economic, political and business leadership positions in the country.
Adebule made the call at the 2019 Women Directors Luncheon organised by the Institute of Directors, Nigeria (IoD) at Ikoyi, Lagos, with the theme: “Are You Board Ready?: Strategies for Success’’.
She said: “Data reveals that women remain heavily outnumbered in both the legislative and executive arms of government, considering their population.
“Similarly, it is still a man’s world within the corporate boardrooms and leadership.
“Therefore, we need to adopt practical solutions that can improve women’s path to leadership roles in proportion to our numbers.
“We must also speak up and stand for other women, work hard to assert ourselves and adopt women mentors that will be ready to invest time and energy into guiding others.
“By doing this, we will increase women’s participation and help to position women as the next frontier of development in Nigeria.’’
Also speaking, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, urged women to be courageous by taking bold steps towards breaking the barriers working against them.
Abubakar urged women to be continuously strategic and innovative in the alliances they build, to enhance their visibility in governance at all levels and in all facets of their lives.
“The ministry will continue to remain committed to the quest for gender equality and total social inclusion,’’ she said.
In her keynote address, Mrs Yvonne Ike, Managing Director, Head Sub-Saharan Africa, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, said that having more women in decision-making positions would trigger socio-economic and political growth in any human endeavour.
Ike identified experience, good character, confidence, enquiring mind, listening skills, resourcefulness, negotiating power and assertiveness, as some of the requirements for the woman to make it to corporate boards.
She also suggested that a good way of getting women into management board was by scouting and grooming them from an early stage in their careers, preparing them for the future.
In his address, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed, President, Governing Council, IoD Nigeria, said that gender diversity was important and had positive effects across organisation and society.
Mohammed said that women generated 37 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) globally, despite making up 50 per cent of the population.
He called for an action-oriented initiative that seeks to enhance the leadership of women in bringing transformative changes focusing on peace, security and development in the country.
In her remarks, Dr Aisha Abdurrahman, Chairperson, Women Directors Committee, IoD Nigeria, said that the luncheon was to help the woman rediscover her path and prepare her to take up leadership positions in the public, private and business world.
“This luncheon is to help the woman rediscover her path, prepare her to take up leadership positions in terms of capacity and confidence and reinforce the woman’s ability to thrive in the corporate world, businesses and the society at large.
“We are also here to share ideas, knowledge, add value, promote professional competence, integrity as well as support women in leadership positions.
“It is time for more women in the boss room than in the other room,’’ Abdurrahman said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IoD is a prime leadership forum in the organised private sector formed in Nigeria in 1997, to help directors fulfil their legal and professional responsibilities for the benefit of the individual, business and society as a whole.