Virtual Goodwill Message At The International Woman Leadership Conference 2022 On 29/03/2022

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Video Transcript







Good morning everyone, I am very delighted to join you at the International Woman Leadership Conference, 2022, and we must all commend the Ibukun Awosika Leadership Academy and the Dubai Tourism and Dubai Events for this unique partnership committed to building a network of powerful women, maximizing their growth potential and capacity and creating opportunities for sustainable peer mentorship.


The poorest countries of the world are those that have low rates of female education and career attainment. All rich countries, small or large, have over 80% female education.


These countries with higher levels of gender equality in education and attainment tend to have higher income levels, better lifestyles and better health outcomes.


According to the McKinsey Global Institute, Nigeria’s GDP could grow by 23% or $229bn by 2025 if women participated in the economy to the same extent as men.


Despite these facts, the IFC’s 2021 Gender Gap Assessment Report showed that women in Nigeria make up only 20% of Executive Teams; only 17% of Board Chairs; none of the leading companies listed on the Nigerian Exchange has both a female CEO and CFO, and none achieved gender balance at the senior management level.


Gender equality in political representation and senior government jobs is also strategically important because perhaps the most profoundly Impactful decisions on the lives of the majority are made by governments through the agency of public officers and legislators.


Gender parity in those positions will mean women being in a position to influence policies, especially those that would affect the fortunes of women and girls.


So, a Conference such as this, whose objective is among others, to bridge the gap between technical knowledge and other necessary skills required to compete effectively with men in the place of leadership, is not just a leadership conference for women, it is an important development conference for countries of the world especially developing countries.


Women breaking glass ceilings in industry, politics, commerce is perhaps more important than men doing the same, because women are half of our human resources that is yet to be fully optimised on account of lack of education and discriminatory practices in the workplace.


To the theme of the conference “Women in Leadership, Playing to Win”, I think there is some acknowledgement of the growing numbers and influence of women as heads and chairs of multilateral and multinational organisations, industry, entertainment, technology and innovation, and successful business owners, but the lack of synergy and collaboration in terms of sharing useful hard and soft skills has slowed down the speed of progress and the numbers of women in leadership generally.


It would be interesting to hear what ideas emerge as to what can really be done to break the barriers of silo achievements that do not benefit the whole.


Generally, anybody of knowledge needs to be gathered and disseminated and this leadership conference will certainly yield several useful learnings on what I must say is a new area of thought – competing effectively with men in higher echelons of human endeavour.


The next task is effectively disseminating this new body of knowledge and it may well be that this new body of knowledge will find its way into university curricula either at the undergraduate or graduate level. Whatever happens, your learnings from here and perhaps others on the subject in the future must be shared for the benefit of women.


Let me end with the point being made in the second part of the theme of this conference, which is “playing to win.”  The point is important because it frontally confronts the tokenism that female representation sometimes suggests.


So, the role of women must go beyond merely breaking glass ceilings, it must be to attain global excellence and leadership. Women must play not just to be represented, but to win!


Finally let me again commend the co-convener of this event Mrs Ibukun Awosika for always giving so generously of her time, resources and experience to give others a better shot at their careers and plans.


I must also thank you for your support for the Federal Government’s Economic Sustainability Plan, by co-chairing the MSME Survival Funds committee with the Hon. Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, an accomplished and experienced bureaucrat, Ambassador Mariam Katagum.


So let me wish you all very fruitful and useful conversations.


Thank you very much for your kind attention.