MARCOMS professionals advocate Gender Inclusivity in top management

By Abimbola Mohammed

Women in the Marketing and Communications industry in Nigeria have called for more gender inclusivity in all available top management positions in corporate Nigeria. They added that since women make up 50% of the world’s population, then 50% of women should also be represented in the workforce across the board.

The above submission was made known at the just concluded maiden edition of The Industry Women Conference with the theme: “She Wins”, held at Sheba Event center, Maryland Lagos.

Speaking at the occasion, Mrs. Nkechi Ali-Balogun, Founder NECCI, who was also the chairman of the event, noted that women have always been winners from the beginning. She stated that women should be celebrated as well as appreciated for their roles and contributions to the world.

“This is a very resonating event and very timely because a lot of women have been unsung, even though they have been playing critical roles in society. Women have always been at the receiving end, therefore an event like this that showcases the achievements of women should be encouraged.

“Woman was created by God himself to win because. Se is the worm-man, she helps, she assists, she brings to life another human and that alone makes her an automatic winner. We speaking on the role of women in the society and the world in general is not to downgrade men. Women are not asking that men should stop being the head but we are saying that you should recognize us, give us some space in the very large market and intentionally include us in governance and nation building.

“We are saying that we have contributed enough to nation building, it is time you applaud us,” she said.

Bunmi Oke, CEO Lady Bird advertising and former president AAAN, said: “This event is a reminder of the importance and impact women have in all areas of endeavours they find themselves whether it is as a wife, in the corporate world and in governance.

“The beauty of this is that we are now realizing that she can only win if we all work together, she cannot win if she doesn’t have the support of her management team at work, she can’t win without the support of her team, she can’t win if she doesn’t have the support at home. Even when she falls she can retrace her steps and do the right thing.”

Ogo Ofomata, Director, Airtel Business, while speaking on the topic: “Breaking Gender Bias in Tech Industry”, defined gender bias as the tendency to give preferential treatment to one gender over the other, unconsciously attributing certain attitudes and behaviours to a group of people. It is also referred to as sexism, preferential treatment that men receive and more often today.

She added that women today hold less than 20% of technology leadership roles, 19% of senior Vice Presidents and 15% of CEOs. “39% of women in technology see gender bias as a hindrance to getting a promotion. 25% of Airtel employees are female but only 8% of our technical roles are held by women,” she said.

Proffering solution on how to reduce and close the gender bias in tech, Ofomata said: “Educate employees via internal and external training, reduce gender diversity bias in the hiring process, set guidelines and rules for eliminating bias at the management level (structure, 50/50 target), create, track and monitor a formal diversity policy, eliminate double standards and unconscious biases, support and network groups, mentoring including reverse mentoring and support or sponsor STEM programmes.”

Ogochukwu Geraldine Eloike, Corporate Communication Manager, Flour Mills of Nigeria, spoke on the fundamentals of work life balance among Nigerian women that covers how to address fear (culture of silence), self awareness and respect and how to handle regrets.


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