Report urges improved gender equality in workplaces

. Nigerian companies score better than global averages

A new study indicates that Nigerian companies scored better than global averages for some aspects of women’s participation in the workforce, even as it urges increased efforts to bridge the gaps that remain between women and men in the private sector.

The study, Gender Equality in Nigeria’s Private Sector, was conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

The study assessed gender gaps in 30 leading companies listed on NGX, using the Equileap Scorecard, a methodology that evaluates gaps across four categories – corporate leadership, compensation and flexible work, corporate policies to promote gender equality, and efforts on commitment, transparency, and accountability in closing gender gaps.

Overall, Nigerian companies scored an average of 32 per cent across 19 gender equality metrics for the four categories, two percentage points behind the global average in Equileap’s dataset reported in 2020.

While the participating companies scored better than the global average on women’s participation as leaders on boards and compared favourably with global averages on women in senior management, more work still needs to be done to achieve gender balance—between 40 and 60 per cent of each gender—across the four categories.

To improve gender balance in the private sector, the report recommends improving gender equality in formal employment, access to finance for women who want to start a business, and access to markets through supply chains and procurement opportunities.

Chief Executive Officer, NGX, Temi Popoola, was quoted in a statement that “NGX has gender equality embedded at the core of its working practices, and has made giant strides in galvanizing capital market stakeholders to institutionalize gender equality within their operations.

“The Nigeria2Equal program comes as a strategic initiative designed to support the private sector in increasing women’s participation in employment and entrepreneurship through favourable workforce policies and practices and we are resolute in our commitment to participate in the program going forward.”

The report is part of the Nigeria2Equal initiative launched in 2020 by IFC in partnership with Nigerian Exchange (NGX). The programme, which runs until 2023, aims to reduce gender gaps in the private sector through research and case studies, a 15-company peer learning platform, and provide firm-level advisory support to companies to implement gender action plans.

The programme will also support the private sector in Nigeria to increase women’s participation as leaders, employees, customers, and entrepreneurs by promoting favourable workforce policies and practices, development of products and services that target the women’s market segment, and initiate deliberate measures that empower women’s participation in corporate procurement.

“Through the Nigeria2Equal initiative, we are working with CEOs of private sector companies listed on the Exchange who are committed to implementing gender-smart solutions to improve their performance in gender across leadership, employment and entrepreneurship. By conducting market research and publishing studies, such as this report, we are providing strong evidence on the important role women play in the country’s private sector, helping companies to identify gaps and constraints, and ultimately invest in reducing those gaps,” said Kalim M. Shah, IFC’s Senior Country Manager for Nigeria.

IFC also unveiled a peer learning platform to accelerate efforts to bridge the gaps between women and men. The participating companies represent diverse business sectors such as banking and finance, construction, FMCG, food manufacturing, hospitality, insurance, logistics, oil & gas, ride hailing and telecommunications.

Overall, Nigerian companies scored an average of 32 per cent across 19 gender equality metrics for the four categories, two percentage points behind the global average in Equileap’s dataset reported in 2020.

They include MTN Nigeria, Access Bank, Sterling Bank, EcoBank, AIICO Insurance, Ardova Plc, Flour Mills of Nigeria, Lafarge Africa, Moove Africa, StanbicIBTC Bank, Airtel Nigeria, UAC of Nigeria, Cadbury Nigeria, Red Star Express, Transcorp Hotels, and Union Bank.

The 15 Nigerian companies will make at least three commitments to reduce gender gaps in their operations, including boosting the number of women in leadership or implementing strategies to bring more women into corporate supply chains.

IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, working in more than 100 countries, using its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries.

Nigerian Exchange on the other hand, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX Group), and a multi-asset exchange providing a home to the best of African enterprises listed on the Premium, Main, and Growth Boards; diverse fixed income securities; Exchange Traded Products (ETPs); Mutual and other investment funds.

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