How FirstBank empowers women through financial inclusion

Empowering women through improved access to finance and social support is crucial in achieving the desired growth for the economy. This is the belief of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, even as it maintained that investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.

FirstBank demonstrated during this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social. It is also a day that stakeholders in Nigeria and in the Diaspora canvassed gender equality in society and workplace. The event brought together governments, women’s organisations, corporations and charities for purposes of development and inclusion.

According to the World Bank, women empowerment is the process that creates power in individuals over their own lives, society and in their communities.

Women’s empowerment is all about equipping and allowing them to make life-determining decisions through the different problems in society.

First Bank is, therefore, supporting women’s economic empowerment through FirstGem, which gives them economic voice and bring many unbanked women to the financial system.

The bank has advanced N58 billion loans to over 81,000 women-led businesses and interests. Besides, 44,356 women (corporate and individual, including members of staff of the bank) currently own and operate the FirstGem account with a seating balance of N2.4 billion.

Also, the Agent Banking platform – which the bank leads in the industry – has promoted not just the financial inclusion of women but also independence as there are many women among its Agent Banking. Data showed that there are 38,185 male banking agents, and 11,762 female banking agents.

According to the First Bank Managing Director/CEO Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan, women-led businesses constitute a large part of the banks’ balance sheets and stream of income, and the bank will continue to give priority to issues that affect women.

The bank chief also said that FirstBank was in tune with the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP) which requires that companies promote gender equality in workplace.To support the NSBP project and give women voice in the workplace, he added that women remained some of the best workforces and always make great impact in establishments.

“FirstBank believes that women needed to be economically empowered. Unless social concerns such as gender disparity and women economic empowerment are addressed, economic and environmental goals and overall sustainable development will be difficult to achieve,” Adeduntan said, adding that “the introduction of FirstGem, a female-focused product by the bank has contributed to the development of the Nigerian economy”.


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