- Post by Admin on sunday, March 05, 2015
OPENING REMARKS AT THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY SYMPOSIUM ON THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2018 AT THE STOCK EXCHANGE HOUSE, MARINA LAGOS
Delivered by Oscar N. Onyema, OON
Her Excellency, Dame Abimbola Emmanuella Fashola, Former First Lady of Lagos State, Chairman LEARN NGO/ Ella Cares Her Excellency, Ms. Laure Beaufils, Deputy British High Commissioner Distinguished Speakers and Panellists Good morning distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; (All protocols duly observed).
It is with great honour that I welcome you all to The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for this year’s International Women’s day symposium themed “Press For Progress”. This is the 4th edition that NSE will be hosting.
Allow me a brief moment to acknowledge the following organisations that have joined forces with us to host today’s symposium and they are Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, United Nations Women, United Nations Global Compact, International Finance Corporation, the World Federation of Exchanges, WIMBIZ, and Women in ETFs.
I would also like to express my deep appreciation to our Special Guest of Honour, our Keynote Speaker, Panel Discussants, our Moderators and all our guests, for your presence in spite of your busy schedule. It is important to state that Press for Progress is not just another theme for another edition of the International women’s day. It is a call to action to spur women and men into taking bold steps towards closing the gender gap.
It is saddening to note that with over 100 years of devoting a day, to celebrating the achievements of women and discussing steps towards achieving gender parity and social justice for women, the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its 2017 Gender Gap report averred that our dream of achieving parity across gender required more than 200 years to become a reality. What a wait!
Let me underscore the imperative of bridging gender inequality by highlighting that the number of years required has been on the increase. WEF first stated that it will take 113 years to bridge the gender gap in 2015, then increased to 169 years in 2016 and then to 217 in 2017.
As one of Africa’s foremost securities exchanges and member of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSEI), we are deeply committed to leveraging our position to accelerate the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 5 which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.
In truth, NSE itself must be seen to walk the talk. As you may know, we have a female to male employees’ ratio of 1:2 and we are taking key steps to increase the number of women in our employ, especially those in leadership positions.
Early this year, we promoted Ms. Tinuade Awe to Executive Director, Regulations, and consequently she is the number two person at the Exchange. More importantly, the Exchange took steps to address the lack of female representation on our National Council (the highest governing body at the Exchange) by electing three eminent female members at the last AGM.
Today, we have 23% female representation as against 0% representation in 2016. Last year, we initiated the NSE GEM (Gender Empowerment Men), a group of male employees at the NSE who act as mentors to young female employees, helping them to navigate the workplace and grow their career. Under the four pillars of our CSR program namely: Workplace, Marketplace, Community and Environment, we continue to seek ways to celebrate women and play our part in closing the gender gap.
In the last three years, our NSE National Essay competition has been won by girls and the last edition was a female top three finish. In October last year, we donated a fully functional school to support IDPs in Maiduguri, Borno State Mansandari Alamderi Model Nursery and Primary School, Maiduguri. Of the 210 admitted students, 89 are girls, a number which we are committed to increasing.
We also use our Closing Gong ceremonies to promote the achievements of women where those achievements align with Exchange objectives. Only recently, we invited Asisat Oshoala, the current CAF African Female Footballer of the year, and the all-female first African Bobsled Team to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, amongst others to sound the NSE Closing Gong. The paradigm is shifting globally about the nature of today’s event. It has been advised, rightly so, that men must be present in the room when gender parity is being discussed. Today, we are aligning with this invaluable insight as follows:
1. I will stay through the course of today’s event. After my opening speech, I will listen to debates, participate as much as possible, and stay until the event ends.
2. We are introducing an all-male panel to be moderated by a woman
3. We have encouraged several men to attend.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I encourage you to participate in this session fully. As we Press for Progress in our careers, we must also commit to press for progress in all areas of our lives. We cannot give up, not now, not ever. We must push and push until we progress and break the norms that hold us from reaching our targets in gender equality.
We must press together, we must progress together, no matter the storm, for as long as we are together, be rest assured we will overcome. Let me use this opportunity to thank our product sponsors, Olori Cosmetics; Zaron Cosmetics Limited; Shredder Gang; A Thousand Reasons Confectionaries; Bodyline Fitness & Gym Limited; Kinabuti Fashion Initiative and ShugaPlum Concepts for the great items they have provided to spice up this event.
Thank you for your kind attention and happy International Women’s Day.
Oscar N. Onyema, OON, Chief Executive Officer.
Photo Caption: L – R shows Eme Essien, Country Manager, International Finance Corporation (IFC); Bekeme Olowola, CEO CSR - In –Action; Fatima Bello-Ismail, Council Member, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); Oscar N. Onyema OON, CEO, NSE, Dame Abimbola Fashola, Chairman, Learn NGO/Ella Care & former First Lady of Lagos State; Olajobi Makinwa, Chief, Africa United Nations Global Compact; Patience Kunene, Executive Director, World Bank and Lillian Olubi, CEO, Primera Africa Securities Limited during the closing gong ceremony in commemoration of International Women’s Day Celebration at the Exchange.