The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has urged stakeholders in private and public organisations to ensure all round gender development and equal opportunities in order to increase the number of women in leadership positions in Nigeria and across the world.
Emefiele gave the charge at a commemorative webinar hosted by the bank’s Deputy Governor in charge of Financial System Stability, Mrs Aishah Ahmad, as part of activities to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day.
According to the statement from the CBN on Friday, while giving her keynote address, Executive Resident at the University of Oxford and former Treasurer and Vice President at the World Bank, Arunma Otteh, also highlighted the critical roles of leadership occupied by women, noting that women were key to societal advancement.
Declaring open the webinar, the CBN governor restated the bank’s commitment to continually promote gender diversity in the workplace, empower women and increase their active participation in the economy.
According to Emefiele, the CBN recognised the potential of female leaders in different organisations and the Nigerian economy at large, and ensured equal opportunities for both male and female staff across every cadre in the bank.
He also cited the CBN/Bankers’ Committee affirmative action on 40 per cent and 30 per cent representation for women in top management and boards of Deposit Money Banks.
While identifying unequal access to education, healthcare, finance and cultural barriers with gender stereotyping as some of the factors limiting the participation of women in leadership, the CBN governor listed policies of the bank that had afforded women access to finance to improve their lots.
Emefiele stressed the need to have appropriate policies in place in addition to making the right investments in programmes and services to promote women leadership and gender parity in order to enable them to contribute to the economy.
He noted that there was an overwhelming evidence that organisations with a high level of female participation fared better than others.
Making a business case for gender equity, Otteh noted that women economics was ‘SMART’ economics, citing statistics that indicated women re-invested up to 90 per cent of their resources into their respective families and societies.
She also emphasised the need to critically address the challenge of security in order to earn economic prosperity, even as she stressed that women remained Nigeria’s last hope to tackle insecurity and life endangering situations.