The Nigerian Exchange Group, the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, United Nations (UN) Women, United Nations Global Compact and International Finance Corporation (IFC) have called on private and public sector stakeholders to close the gender gap by creating more opportunities for women to thrive. 

This call was made at the 2023 International Women’s Day (IWD) symposium themed “Embrace Equity: Setting the Standard for a Sustainable Future”.  

The event brought together stakeholders across sectors to chart the cause for driving sustainable outcomes for women and men to thrive. 

Prioritizing equity: The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX Group), Mr Oscar Onyema, noted that the Group is committed to prioritizing equity, diversity and inclusion in its workplace.  

  • “Gender equity is an ongoing journey that requires sustained efforts and commitment from all of us. We must commit to continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible, embrace new ideas to challenge ourselves and each other for a more equitable and sustainable future,” he said.

Ongoing collaborations: Temi Popoola, the CEO of Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), spoke about the Exchange’s strides in promoting diversity and inclusion in the capital market. Citing the progress made on NGX’s collaboration with IFC on the Nigeria2Equal Initiative, he said:

  • With Nigeria2Equal, we have been able to galvanize private sector action to close the gender gap, the most recent program of which is the launch of the Gender-Based Violence and Harassment in Workplaces research.” 

The prospect of gender equality: Ms Dahlia Khalifa, Regional Director, of the International Finance Corporation, (IFC) said that societies with more gender equality tend to be more resilient in the growth and development of an economy. 

She noted that IFC supports women through capacity building and also supports regulators by helping to integrate equality and close gender gaps in organisations adding that study showed that female genders are an underutilized resource for economic growth. 

  • “Women account for half of Nigerian 200 million population, we need to do more to close the gender gap to bring more balance in the system to enhance economic growth and development. Access to finance is the biggest challenge for Nigerian women entrepreneurs. Stock exchanges all over the world have lots of roles to play by increasing women’s participation in businesses,” she said.

Culture transformation: The fireside talk on gender diversity and inclusion in the boardroom between Ms Tinuade Awe, Chief Executive Officer, NGX Regulation Limited, and Mrs Rosie Bichard, Co-chair, Women Executives on Boards, was another highlight of the day as the discussions underlined that culture transformation remained crucial to address inclusion on the board, despite the need to introduce younger women to the board as well as complete transparency with proven metrics in relation to the corporate governance structure.