In Nigeria, women account for almost half of the population and a considerable chunk of the labour force. In terms of household consumption in Nigeria, the women are playing a lead role in deciding consumption levels and overall management of the home. It is noted that greater gender equality in education and employment opportunities fosters faster, more robust and more inclusive growth. The growth benefits of unlocking the economic potential of women are substantial. This is because women are more likely than men to invest in the human capital of their families. Recall the age-long notion; ‘train a woman and train a nation’. To educate is to bring up and instruct; to teach; to train.
Today, women continue to lag behind men in economic participation, leadership roles and opportunities across multiple industries. Women are overrepresented in informal, temporary, and low-productivity jobs with low pay and limited opportunities for advancement. As a woman in the industry in this region, I have observed that women need to prove themselves much more than men to get a seat at the table or to be taken seriously. No wonder there have been several discourses around shattering the glass ceiling. However, it is noted that many Nigerian women are pushing the boundaries and shattering the glass ceiling every day. They have taken the bull by the horn, overcoming several obstacles to make their voices heard and to play more active roles. This ranges across multiple industries e.g banking, manufacturing and other fields like law, medicine, pharmacy etc. Yet, the majority remain underrepresented. How can women be more involved? How exactly can gender parity be achieved?
Like the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, women need to #pressforprogress. First, they need to get a formal education, get the confidence to start a career or business and excel at it, shattering the glass ceiling. There is also a need for women to take advantage of trainings to hone their skills, learn how to maximize their potentials and intentionally lean forward. But beyond this, when women actually have the required qualifications, employers need to consciously treat men and women the same way in terms of roles they occupy, in terms of promotions and in terms of remuneration. Organizations that uphold gender equality are to be commended.
I am proud to work for Procter and Gamble where gender equality is one of the essential citizenship pillars of the company. The organization aspires to achieve equal gender representation in all parts of the company and ensuring an inclusive environment where everyone – men and women – can contribute to their full potential; and is now extending that opportunity to its supplier base.
On International Women’s Day, P&G Nigeria announced the second edition of its Women Entrepreneurship Development Program in partnership with WEConnect International to train women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and increase their chances to get into the supply chain of multinationals. Last year, 50 women were trained under the program in a one-day session in Ibadan. This year, 20 women will be trained for four weeks in April 2018 from the 5th in Lagos. The program is open to all women business owners in the WEConnect International Network, women-owned businesses and certified business entrepreneurs.
This program appeals to me so much because of what it stands to achieve – equal representation of men and women in an inclusive environment, where they can deliver their full capabilities. Through this program, P&G aims to economically empower women with the right tools and knowledge needed to grow their businesses and offer opportunities for them to provide solutions sustainably to multinationals across the country.
As we look forward to more companies advocating for gender parity through brand and corporate programs and policy advocacy efforts, let us all women #pressforprogress.
About Ihinosen Ebinum
Ihinosen leads the Purchases organization for P&G Nigeria. She has key responsibility over sourcing strategies to support the business and deliver best total value, managing strategic supplier relationships and minimizing commercial and business risks.
Nosen has more than 12years experience in Purchases working across the African and Middle Eastern markets over the course of her career. She has a very good experience in People management, Strategic Sourcing Strategy, Supplier Relationship Management, Negotiation, Supply Chain development/Optimization amongst others.
Just like she has worked hard to reach her current career position, she still has aspirations for greater heights. She wishes that more women have the confidence and dare to dream, reach their career aspirations and aim for more.