Chapel Hill Denham CEO, Bolaji Balogun, on Tuesday 24 May 2022, gave a keynote address at the annual Women Directors’ Luncheon themed “Virtually Unstoppable: Defining the New Inclusive Economy” organised by the Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria.
The event, which was held at the Ecobank Pan Africa Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos, had in attendance high-profile figures in corporate Nigeria such as Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO; Kofo Akinkugbe, CEO of SecureID; Omobola Johnson, Chairman, Guinness Nigeria Plc; Olatomiwa Williams, Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria & Ghana; Temie Giwa-Tubosun, CEO of LifeBank; Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Founder & General Partner, Future Africa, as well as Bamidele Abiodun, the First Lady of Ogun State.
“Pushing for female directors just makes good business sense. If you live in an economy where 51% of the population are women, then running forward without women in governance positions is as simple as you running with one hand or one leg tied behind your back,” Balogun said.
“The keyword is ‘intentionality’. Our firm has existed for 6,251 days or just over 17 years, and every single one of those days, women have accounted for more than 50% of our employees and 40% of leadership positions. We’re the only firm in the Nigerian financial services industry with three female managing directors, all of whom are here today.”
According to the Gender Equality in Nigeria’s Private Sector report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), Nigeria’s private sector is closing the gap in gender equality.
The average percentage of women at the executive level in the country is 20%, compared to 17% globally while the average percentage of women at the board level is 23%, close to the global average of 25%.
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“The only way we can get women into significant governance positions is by creating room from the early stages of management in a firm,” Balogun added. “It also means that when we get into significant leadership positions, as women and men, we have the responsibility to keep the door open behind us and bring many women through that door.”