Aliko Dangote, the president/chief executive of Dangote Group and founder of Aliko Dangote Foundation, has called for law promoting gender equality in the country.
Speaking at the 2019 Women Corporate Directors Lecture sponsored by Aliko Dangote Foundation, Dangote advocated for a legislature backing that will allow a certain percentage of women in public or private sectors work force.
“We can start with a proportion of like 30 women to 70 men on the board,” he said.
He noted that increasing the number of women in corporate world lead to increase in innovation and innovative thinking, which opens up the door of fresh perceptive, saying that women on board of directors reduce governance related issues and ultimately result to a better performance.
According to Dangote, from my businesses as well, my three daughters all take on challenging roles as senior executive at the group level and I can tell you that they have led the businesses to success.
We have a strong number of women at Dangote Industries across board, a lot of women occupy important leadership, and their efficiency have been noticed.
He added that with the caliber of women at this event today, ranging from board executives of various organisation, business executives and top government executives, this is a clear indication that women in the work force have started taking their rightful place in the private, public and social sector in Nigeria and across Africa.
He however said despite this impressive achievement there is still a lot of work to be done to close the gender gap in the world work place.
Nigeria women according to Dangote are climbing the corporate ladder and we have a good number of them as CEO of top firms, members of board of directors, chairman or chairperson of board of companies in the like of former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Nike Akande, chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Ibukunoluwa Awosika, chairman of Access Bank, Mosunmola Belo-Olusoga, chairman of Guaranty Trust Bank, Osaretin Demuren, to mention a few.
He added that “At Dangote Group, we practice what we preach and women have excelled to board of directors. We ran an organisation that women aspired to the highest position without hindrances.
He hoped that this meeting will open more doors for women as the world continued to close the gender gap in any organisation.
According to him, the World Bank report showed that women and girls account for 40 per cent of Nigeria population which comes to over 90 million, they represent a huge assets for our country and if we collectively tap into their potentials for the development of our economy. I can assure you that Dangote Group will continue to strengthen and mentor women in assuming leadership role in corporate world.
Speaking on the theme, ‘The courage to Lead; Inspiring Others, Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Success’, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, who is the guest speaker said that gender equality is important as women potentially represent half of the world’s pool of talents and prospects for advancement.
He said “For Africa to prosper, we need to engage and give chance to women to be very active in our politics, economic and business environment.”
He noted that women have special value and should be harness by Africa, saying “Country who have grown in human capital index, then you find those countries women were very active they have truly occupied places in the societies.”
Also, executive director of Dangote Industries, Halima Aliko-Dangote said emphasized the need for equality gender in the country.
She said that in Dangote Group, we are ensuring that stereotypes is seriously eliminated, looking at our board we are having almost 50 per cent of women on the board member.
She also insisted that a bill promoting gender equality should be passed to be passed in enabling having fair represented of women in any organisation.
While wife of former British Prime Minister, Cherie Blair pointed out that people are a nation’s most valuable assets, saying that this leads to the reason of having gender equality across all of society.
She noted further that any country that persistently fails to engage and develop the potential of ‘half of its most valuable asset’ which is women will continue to underperform.
She added that “We are making progress in this fight with increase in the number of women in the corporate world just like what we have in Nigeria.”
According to her, harnessing the incredible talents and potential of women is not only the right thing to do, it will also create stronger economies and a fairer society for all.
The Women Corporate Directors (WCD) Foundation Nigeria Chapter was launched last year. The foundation is a global membership organisation and community of women corporate directors, and committed, not just to good governance, but to governance with global vision.
Women Corporate Directors is the world’s largest membership organization and community of women corporate board directors.