‘Capacity building, mentorship key to women’s leadership’
By Evelyn Osagie
WOMEN’S rights advocates have decried the current economic state of women in the country, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They posit that women’s leadership in politics and economy is central to gender justice as well as the attainment of sustainable development goals (SGDs) in Nigeria; hence, women empowerment is key to the country’s development.
This was the position held at Red Eyes Development Initiative (REDi) virtual advocacy series, tagged: “The Agendum”.
With the theme, “Women’s Political and Economic Development,” the event featured as its Special Guest, Chief Janet A. Amba, Senior Special Adviser on SMEs to Akwa Ibom State Government.
It was identified that to achieve optimum empowerment for women in political and economic sectors in Nigeria, there must be intensive capacity building; women supporting each other; learning and imbibing leadership skills sets and attitudes, and mentorship.
According to founder and chief communications officer of REDi and host of the virtual event, Ekaete George, women, who make up 4.43 percent of elected government officials in Nigeria, are grossly underrepresented in economic decision making and political governance and this is unacceptable.
She bemoaned the current state, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying more should be done to alleviate their plight, economically.
She said: “There is an urgent need to improve the lot of women. This can be done through the collective efforts of all. Nigeria’s political and economic leaders and other stakeholders must focus on the global goals of gender equality (SDG5) as central to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in terms of action.
The focus should be on vocational training, capacity building and mentorship, even as we push for attitudinal change and partnership among our women.”
George restated the commitment of REDi to sustain advocacy for gender justice in leadership and economic development of women in Nigeria.
In her presentation, Chief Amba called for more cooperation among women striving for empowerment. She observed that women usually find obstacles adequate capacity, stating that they lack appropriate leadership mindset.
“From working in the private and public sectors in Akwa Ibom, and now as Special Adviser on Small and Medium Enterprises, I have interacted with young women who are imbibing the goal-getting mentality, which the government is striving to instil.
To further promote the goal-getting mentality among our womenfolk, government at all levels, civil society, corporate organisations and individuals should organise training and enlightenment campaigns to properly equip women in the skill sets and attitudinal changes that are essential to become leaders.
The political and economic terrains are rough, and therefore need women to build sufficient stamina to sit on decision making tables when opportunity calls,” she said.
Amba also decried the scarcity of adequate mentors for aspiring women leaders in economy and politics. She added: “Of course, female leaders in these sectors are quite few when compared to their male counterparts.
However, female leaders who have attained success should, as a matter of urgency, consider mentoring many more women who can occupy the spaces in future.
That’s why I’ve planned to be establishing the mentorship programme to be organised under her non-governmental organisation, Unique Icon Builders Foundation. It would prioritise grooming future women leaders in the areas of politics and economic governance.”
Source: The Nation