THE Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) is collaborating with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to promote gender equality and empower women in the power sector.
This was the focus of the “IBEDC 2022 DISCO for Women Conference” held in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday, themed: “Breaking the Glass Ceiling.”
Speaking at the event, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IBEDC, Kingsley Achife, said the power industry had long been seen as the domain of the male gender and the reason for the terminologies used in the industry such as linesmen, draftsmen, among many others.
Achife, who was represented by the Chief Business Transformation and Strategy Officer, Iranola Ayodeji, said IBEDC has changed the narrative by being the first DISCO to adopt more gender-friendly nomenclatures such as lines worker, and expressed the hope that other companies will follow suit.
“It is in view of this that IBEDC partnered with the USAID to push the engendering agenda across the power sector in Nigeria and beyond.
“IBEDC has established a team of employees nicknamed, MANBASSADORS, and trained by USAID to engage the male and female gender from all walks of life to embrace the concept of gender equality. Yours truly has been appointed the MenEngage Champion.
“Furthermore, IBEDC has plans to improve the gender mix for female employees to at least 20% in the short term and then scale up as time goes by,” Achife said.
He said statistics have shown that on average, women in leadership roles performed better than their male counterparts in strategic decision-making.
“The gut feeling and instinct that women are known for cannot be overshadowed by cold hard facts and figures that male managers tend to base their decision on,” he said.
Change starts from the house. If you want a society where we are developed, and men and women are valued equally, then you must start from the home.
The Guest Speaker, and Executive Director, EZ 37 Solutions Ltd., Mrs Patricia Akinlotan, said the conference was about empowering women to rise above the limitations placed on them.
“Everything starts with you and if you remove the glass ceiling on your mind, you clear all obstacles, and you have intentional focus, then you see what others are not seeing.
“You can have access to information, because we live in a digital age and information is power,” Akinlotan said.
She enjoined the government to prioritise education for women, “because if you educate a woman, you train a generation.”
A gender equality advocate, 14-year-old, Aline Shahimi, said “change starts from the house. If you want a society where we are developed, and men and women are valued equally, then you must start from the home.”
In her remarks, Chief Human Resources Officer, IBEDC, Ms Ehi Obaseki, said gender equality has come to stay, and stressed the need to change our thinking and gender stereotypes.
“Women need to be more visible and step up to apply for jobs. When we put out job adverts, we noticed men are quicker to apply than women, who have other considerations.
“Women need to break that glass ceiling, be visible and pursue careers,” Obaseki said.
NAN reports that in 2015, USAID and IBEDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on engendering utility programmes, a platform to infuse the diversity required to recruit, train, and empower more women into IBEDC workforce. (NAN)