The Nigerian Stock Exchange Hosts International Women’s Day Symposium: Press for Change

The Nigerian Stock Exchange Hosts International Women’s Day Symposium: Press for Change

With the likes of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Dilma Rousseff, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner rising to become Presidents of their home countries and other women like Ginni Romety, Indra Nooyi and a host of many others climbing the corporate ladder to become Chief Executive Officers of Fortune 500 companies, a lot seems to have changed for women. However, according to World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Report, it will most likely take 200 years for the gender gap to close completely.

It is in the bid to demonstrate commitment towards narrowing this huge gap that the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) hosted individuals from different fields and endeavors to a one day symposium in commemoration of the 2018 International Women’s Day (IWD). In line with this year’s IWD theme, Press for Progress, the symposium focused on how to accelerate the achievement of gender equality while celebrating the social and economic achievements of women who have defied the odds of gender bias to excel beyond expectations in diverse spheres of life.

The symposium which held at Stock Exchange House, Marina, Lagos on the 8th of March 2018 kicked off with an opening remark by Oscar N Onyema, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange. The event organised in partnership with Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, United Nations Women, United Nations Global Compact, International Finance Corporation, the World Federation of Exchanges, Women in ETFs and Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) was headlined by Laure Beaufils, UK Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria and Dame Emmanuella Fashola, former first lady of Lagos State and Founder of LEARN NGO and Ella Cares.

Laure Beaufils, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria giving the keynote speech

Dame Abimbola Fashola, Former First Lady of Lagos State & Chairman Learn NGO/Ella Cares giving the goodwill message

While delivering her keynote speech, UK Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, Laure Beaufils reiterated the need for courage and unity in the fight against gender inequality. Dame Abimbola Fashola in her  address equally harped on the need for women to be dogged and united in quashing gender disparity.

The event also featured two panel discussions themed “Gender Equality, Business Growth and Economic Development: Finding the Connection” and “The Future is Female: A Fad or Fact” . The panel discussants were thought leaders and established women and men like Tinuade Awe, Executive Director, Regulation, NSE; Bekeme Olowola, Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action; Patience Kunene, Executive Director, World Bank; Bola Adeeko, Head, Corporate Services Division, NSE and veteran Comedian, Ali Baba among others.

The panelists discussed salient issues hindering the achievement of gender equality in the world and proffered suggestions on how best to work towards shattering the glass ceiling of inequality.

L-R: Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action; Tinu Awe, ED, Regulation, NSE; Olajobi Makinwa, Chief, Africa of the UN Global Compact; Lilian Olubi, CEO Primera Securities Limited; Patience Bongiwe Kunene, Executive Director at the Board of the World Bank representing Angola, Nigeria and South Africa and Irene Robinson-Ayanwale, Head, Legal NSE during the first panel session

During the first panel session, Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action, Bekeme Olowola while acknowledging the fact that a lot has changed for women especially in the corporate world noted that more still needs to be done. She called on women to question the unspoken rules set to marginalise women.

Tinuade Awe, Executive Director, Regulation, NSE admonished women to show no bias in child upbringing. She stressed that women would only be able to break the oppressiveness of patriarchy by raising their sons to become men who see and treat women equally. In her own submission, Executive Director, World Bank, Patience Kunene opined that the journey to women’s liberation would not be easy. She however encouraged women not to slow down in the fight against gender prejudice.

L-R: Alibaba Akpobome, Comedian, MC, Radio Show Host and Motivational SpeakerBola Adeeko, Head, Shared Services Division, NSE; Mr Dan Agbor, Partner, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie &  Adjaratou Fatou Ndiaye, Acting Country Representative for UN Women to NIgeria and ECOWAS during the second panel session

Alibaba, Nigeria’s foremost comedian while speaking during the second panel session stated that culture and religion plays a critical role in festering gender inequality. To put an end to gender inequality, he called for men and women to make conscious efforts to expunge these deep-seated gender stereotypes from our conscious and subconscious minds.

While answering questions and giving further suggestions, action points mentioned by panelists include the need to take girl child education seriously and to create more awareness on the impact of gender inequality on our socio-economic development. A call was also made to the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation and media houses to stop promoting songs and music videos that promotes objectification of the women folk.

At the close of the well-attended symposium, guests and staff of Nigerian Stock Exchange joined other exchanges around the world to ring the bell for gender equality with the closing gong ceremony.

L – R: Eme Essien, Country Manager, International Finance Corporation (IFC); Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Chief Executive, 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 of the Board of the World Bank Representing Angola, Nigeria & South Africa and Lillian Olubi, CEO, Primera Africa Securities Limited; during the closing gong ceremony in commemoration of  International Women’s Day Celebration at the Exchange on Thursday, 08 March, 2018.


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