“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes in our lives and businesses. There is a valid concern that the current economic challenges will exacerbate gender inequality.”
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE” or “The Exchange”) in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has launched the Nigeria2Equal Programme with an inaugural seminar on Monday, 25 May 2020. The webinar, themed, “Gender Implications of COVID-19: Supporting Women as Employees in the New Normal” highlighted the differential socioeconomic impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on men and women, with women predicted to face more negative impacts.
In addressing concerns around women at home and in the workplace during this crisis, the Head, Shared Services Division, NSE, Bola Adeeko said,“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes in our lives and businesses. There is, however, the valid concern that the current economic challenges will exacerbate gender inequality, especially because women are inappropriately represented in the informal sector and they are equally under-represented in more senior levels of management in the corporate world. This seminar, therefore, features a panel of seasoned and experienced experts to discuss best practices on how companies can develop the appropriate actions during and after this pandemic while re-aligning their business structures to the new realities.”
Speaking to the critical need to advance gender equality today, the Country Manager, IFC Nigeria, Eme Lore Essien said“In times of crisis, gender issues can sometimes be relegated to the backseat. The insights shared today bring to the fore to the urgent need for us to think outside the box for more gender-sensitive responses to the needs of the business, particularly in a post-COVID economy. The IFC is committed to providing a platform for knowledge sharing especially for female entrepreneurs who are successfully navigating the world of professionalism whilst balancing home life. We are particularly thankful to the NSE for supporting us in providing one of such platforms today.”
The event featured a panel discussants of thought leaders across business, academic and the civil society spaces including: Head, Trading Business Division, NSE, Jude Chiemeka; Director, Sustainable Business Initiative, University of Edingburgh, Professor Kenneth Amaeshi; Country Head, Human Capital, Stanbic IBTC, Funke Amobi; and Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action, Bekeme Masade-Olowola.
Speakers were in agreement that more women are experiencing increased burden of being traditional caregivers even as families spend more time at home. This to them will inadvertently lead to a decrease in productivity, further reinforcing gender segregation at this time, therefore, leading to heavy job attrition. They emphasized the need for Corporates to be proactive in creating support systems for female employees through frequent engagements, executive coaching, access to professional support, to name a few.