A call has gone to organizations operating across all sectors in the country to create opportunities that empower women to fulfill their full potential for the good of society.
The call was made by CEO of Digital Jewels, Adedoyin Odunfa while speaking as a Guest Speaker at the Webinar organized by Polaris Bank Limited themed: Advancing Women Empowerment through the Adoption of Technological Innovation and Digital Education to mark the 2023 International Women’s Day which held in Lagos last week.
Focusing on the IWD 2023 theme: #EmbraceEquity, Odunfa while addressing gender imbalance in the workplace, cited statistics that show that women make up only 46 percent of the workplace and less than 25 percent of them end up in leadership positions.
She pointed out the need to address gender imbalance and prevailing conscious and unconscious biases against women. She also emphasized the need to intentionally empower women with technological innovation rather than just pay lip service to it.
According to Odunfa, one of the ways to create these opportunities is to have more women in the workplace to develop products and services that empower women. She also highlighted the need to intentionally target women for instance, in the design of financial services and products to make them more accessible, affordable, and relevant.
To achieve this, Odunfa called for improved financial literacy and investment in education, as well as training for gender parity in the workplace and marketplace. This sentiment was echoed by two other Panelists at the webinar: Chinyelu Chikwendu, a Director with Vatebra TechHub and Ededayo Durosinmi-Etti, CEO of Herconomy.
Also contributing at the session as a Panelist, Dr. (Mrs.) Amina Sambo-Magaji, an AI specialist, Researcher and Tech policy maker, emphasized the need for collaboration and a system approach to promote gender equality in the digital space.
Dr. Sambo-Magaji, a distinguished Humphrey Fellow, who doubles as a Director at National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) also called for measures to promote women’s participation in all aspects of digital, including technological innovation, and digital governance. She emphasized the need for policies that actively promote gender equality and empower women to be partners, consumers, and creators of technology and innovation.
Earlier, Polaris Bank’s Group Head, Customer Experience Management & Sustainability, Bukola Oluyadi spoke on why the Bank organised the Webinar. “The goal of this event is to address the various challenges faced by Women in diverse professions, identify skill gaps needed to be addressed, and how technology, innovation, and digital education can be leveraged to empower the woman so that Gender equity can be felt more in our economy.”
According to Oluyadi, “Polaris Bank is committed to Women Empowerment, and consciously raising awareness on gender equity and ensure that no woman is financially excluded, or is disadvantaged in any way. In her words: “Only 30 percent of commercial banks in Nigeria have over 30 percent female representation on their board and Polaris Bank is one of such banks. The Bank is also supporting women-led businesses with single-digit interest loans in celebrating IWD 2023 and women’s month. The Bank is also driving women empowerment internally by inaugurating its Women’s Network this month”, she disclosed.
Polaris Bank is a future-determining Bank redefining banking products and services that meet the needs of individuals and businesses. The Bank was adjudged Digital Bank of the Year in 2021 and 2022.