The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) joined the rest of the world on Friday, March 6, 2020, to commemorate the International Women’s Day (IWD) by hosting a half day symposium and bell ringing ceremony for gender equality at The Exchange, Lagos. With the theme “Each for Equal”, the event focused on individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets that will accelerate progress and impact on the advancement of women across all spheres of life in line with The Exchange’s objectives.
The event, organized in partnership with the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) and Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (SSEI), International Finance Corporation (IFC), UN Women, and the United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria (GCNN), brought together male and female thought leaders from a wide array of industries to celebrate the accomplishments of women and champion the discourse on how to forge a gender equal world.
Speaking at the event, Mr Oscar N. Onyema OON, Chief Executive Officer, NSE said, “When I learnt of this year’s theme, “Each for Equal”, my mind raced to the implications of a truly equal and balanced world; a world where men and women make equal contributions to the society, enjoy equal opportunities, and even enjoy the same rewards and benefits. Going by the growing body of evidence out there, it is safe to conclude that the multiplier effect on families, businesses, communities, economies and ultimately, nations would be indeed phenomenal.”
“Despite the identified benefits increased women participation is poised to deliver, women continue to face an uphill battle in achieving true gender parity. As a member of the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (SSEI), the Exchange prioritizes the issues of gender equality and balance and is working assiduously to accelerate the achievement of Goal 5 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. We have, therefore, adopted a collaborative approach to implement pivotal initiatives in commemoration of IWD 2020.”
The event served to announce the strategic partnership between the NSE and IFC on the Nigeria2Equal Initiative – a three-year project towards which the IFC will collaborate with the NSE to reduce employment and entrepreneurship gaps in Nigeria through the private sector. The program will support the private sector to increase women’s participation as leaders, employees, customers and entrepreneurs through favourable workforce policies and practices. These efforts will also give rise to products and services that target the women’s market segment, and deliberate measures that promote women’s participation in corporate procurement.
The NSE also leveraged the IWD celebrations to demonstrate its commitment to the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) which the Exchange endorsed during the 2019 IWD celebrations by hosting the first training in Nigeria on the WEPs Gender Gaps Analysis Tool in collaboration with Global Compact Nigeria Network (GCNN). In addition, the symposium featured a special section on the recently launched Lagos HeForShe Initiative by UN Women to raise awareness on the role of men in promoting gender equality.
The symposium was headlined by Mrs Awenuba Ajumogobia, Chairman, Board of Directors, CAP Plc, who discussed the opportunities and challenges of building a gender equal world. In her goodwill message, The Wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu commended the NSE, saying ” I commend Mr Oscar N. Onyema, OON, the Chief Executive Officer of the NSE and indeed, the entire NSE team for the initiative to stand in solidarity with women in furtherance of the bid to foster a gender-equal world”.
Present at the event as a speaker was Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner, who discussed the need for balanced action both at home and at the workplace. Panellists at the event covered a diverse range of expertise and consisted of: Bola Adesola, Senior Vice-Chairman, Standard Chartered Bank Group; Eme Essien, Country Manager, International Finance Corporation; Asue Ighodalo, Founding Partner, Banwo-and-Ighodalo; Jubril Enakele, CEO, Iron Capital Partners Limited; Uto Ukpanah, Company Secretary, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Board Member, GCNN; Tinuade Awe, Executive Director, Regulation Division, Nigerian Stock Exchange; and Nkiru Balonwu, Founder, African Women on Board.
The event also featured notable personalities like Lota Chukwu- a Nigerian actress – and was supported by House of Tara, La Casera Nigeria, Modara Natural Beauty Products, and Abebibytan Clothings.