The Nigerian Stock Exchange, in partnership with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, United Nations Women, United Nations Global Compact, International Finance Corporation, the World Federation of Exchanges (WIMBIZ), and Women in ETFs, organised a symposium to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at the Stock Exchange House in Lagos.
In line with the global theme for this year’s celebration, “press for progress”, the NSE symposium was designed to motivate and unite everyone to think, act and be gender inclusive. The event which brought together over 200 women and men from the NSE, listed companies, Dealing Member firms, media, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), civil societies and Government, to discuss how to help women realize their dreams; had Laure Beaufils, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria and Dame Abimbola Fashola, Former First Lady of Lagos State & Chairman LEARN NGO/Ella Cares as headline speakers.
The Exchange also joined other stock exchanges around the world that rang the bell for gender equality to raise awareness on the importance of gender equality to capital markets. The Exchange used its Closing Gong ceremony to highlight the business case for women’s economic empowerment, as well as opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.
In his welcome address, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema OON, Chief Executive Officer, NSE, stated that, “this year’s theme is not just another theme for another edition of the International women’s day. It is a call to action to spur women and men into taking bold steps towards closing the gender gap”.
“At The Nigerian Stock Exchange, we are playing our part in helping to achieve gender parity. Today, we have a female to male employees’ ratio of 1:2 and we are taking key steps to increase the number of women in our employ, especially those in leadership positions. Early this year, we promoted Ms. Tinuade Awe to Executive Director, Regulations, and consequently she is the number two person at the Exchange. More importantly, the Exchange took steps to address the lack of female representation on its National Council, by electing three eminent female members at the last AGM. Today, we have 23% female representation as against 0% representation in 2016”, added Onyema.
Delivering her keynote address, Laure Beaufils commended the NSE for setting out a day like this to celebrate women. “I want to thank the CEO of the Stock Exchange for making this day happen – not all Stock Exchanges across the world hold a day like today to celebrate women”.
She calls for resilience in the pursuit of gender equality. “We must not grow tired because change is not happening fast enough. We must not be afraid to rock the boat. We need more women on every table where decisions are made. We must push the private sector to do a lot better than it currently is. And we all, each and every one of us, in our families, our communities, our work place and in our politics, we all have a role to play in pressing for change”.
Dame Abimbola Fashola, called on women to be their sister’s keeper by encouraging, inspiring and uplifting others as they move up the ladder. She applauded NSE for investing and advocating for women’s empowerment in the work place, market place and community, moments before she sounded the NSE Closing Gong.
The symposium featured two panel discussions featuring Tinuade Awe, Executive Director, Regulation, NSE; Patience Kunene, Executive Director, World Bank; Bekeme Olowola, CEO, CRS in Action; Lilian Olubi, CEO, Primera Africa Securities who discussed “Gender Equality, Business Growth and Economic Development: Finding the Connection”; and Bola Adeeko, Head, Shared Services Division, NSE; Ali Baba, Nigeria’s foremost Stand-up Comedian and Actor; and Dan Agbor, Partner, Udo Udoma and Belo-Osagie, that deliberated “The Future is Female: A Fad or a Fact”. The panel sessions were moderated by Ms. Irene Robinson-Ayanwale, Head of Legal Department, NSE and Ms. Adjaratou Fatou Ndiaye, Acting Country Representative for UN Women to Nigeria and ECOWAS.
To close the day a raffle draw was held with gifts from the event sponsors, Olori Cosmetics, Zaron Cosmetics Limited, Shredder Gang, A Thousand Reasons Confectionaries, Bodyline Fitness & Gym Limited, Kinabuti, ShugaPlum Concepts.