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It Is Value-Adding for Companies to Insert Gender Concerns Into Corporate Strategy
27.03.21

Q: What actions have been taken by OVH Energy as a company to drive gender equity in Nigeria?

OVH Energy operates a no-discrimination policy in matters relating to the employment, training, compensation and career advancement of its employees. These are extended purely based on qualification and merit.

In addition, the company has over the past few years made a conscious effort to close the gender gap between the senior, management and executive management levels.

As part of our 2021 business initiative, we plan to introduce a few gender-based initiatives to empower the OVH Energy woman.

In your personal view, what are the societal challenges Nigerian women are facing and how do you think private organisations can help to solve some of these challenges?

Firstly, we need to look at the various societal challenges such as discriminatory religious or cultural practices, lack of access to quality education, poverty or lack of financial empowerment and motherhood pressures. Then proffer solutions to each of these challenges.

There is need for a lot of support through CSR made to organisations that provide enlightenment to affected communities and promote the eradication of such discriminatory practices.

Subsequently, more should be done to empower women through corporate scholarship schemes like partner with stakeholders to sponsor skill acquisition programmes, provide seed capital for female entrepreneurs and more importantly provide women with financial education. I also think promoting flexible work schemes and crèche support for mothers will be helpful.

Marking the International Women’s Day saw various activities, a public holiday in some countries and ignored elsewhere. In some places, it is a day that celebrates womanhood. Do you think there is a need to make this day a focal point in the movement of women’s right?

The gift of the woman in my view should be celebrated. Across the world, women carry a huge burden, most times silently of ensuring things work smoothly in their homes, by being physically present when required, providing emotional and financial support at the home front, whilst also juggling their responsibilities at work.

A day such as this set aside to celebrate women should indeed be taken advantage of to say THANK YOU to these multi-tasking superheroes who are seldom acknowledged.

International Women’s Day should also be seized as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of leading women, to highlight the stories of women who have fought for the emancipation of women’s rights globally and to re-educate people generally on the need for gender equality and female empowerment beginning from the family unit, schools, up to public and private institutions.

 

Q: What role does the private sector play in promoting gender equity? Why is it important to take gender concerns into account in corporate strategy development, program design, and program implementation?

The private sector especially in the sub Saharan accounts for a considerable percentage of well-paying jobs. The influence of this sector therefore in the drive to promote gender equality cannot be overemphasised.

If most of the organisations within the private sector have personnel policies that encourage gender equity and spell out actions to enable them, slowly but surely, the goals of gender equity and the empowerment of women at the workplace will be achieved.

It is important and value-adding to companies to take gender concerns into account in corporate strategy development, doing so will promote inclusion and drive gender equity as an organisational culture in a sustainable manner.

Gender consideration will allow for diverse analysis of a company’s potential and wider impact from programmes implementation, which will considerably determine the bottom line.

 

Q: What advice would you give to any young woman out there reading this?

Get an education and be empowered to do more, believe in yourself and aim high. Be audacious and always challenge the norm.

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