The development Research and projects Centre, dRPC, under the Partnership For Advancing Women Economic Development, PAWED, and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BMGF, has organized a 3-day capacity building workshop for women economic groups in Lagos State.
According to a statement from the dPRC media office in Abuja, the workshop which was supported by EpiAfric, Yellow Brick Road, Albright Stonebridge Group, and the HIVE, was aimed at strengthening women advocacy.
The statement added that the capacity building would also enable the women to have the necessary skills, resources, and opportunities needed to access and compete equitably in the country’s markets.
The dRPC Executive Director, Dr Judith-Ann Walker, represented by the Director Projects, Dr Stanley Ukpai, said the workshop is necessary in view of the significant contribution of women in the nation’s economy.
Ms Walker lamented that women still constitute a meager percentage in real economic spaces in the country.
“Although Nigerian women account for 41% ownership of micro-businesses in Nigeria with over 23 million female entrepreneurs, making Nigeria among the highest entrepreneurs globally, there is insufficient real economic empowerment and inclusion for women across the real economic sectors,” she lamented.
The executive director stressed that there is increasing global awareness that empowering women yields a high return on investment, “this is because women are integral part of the nation’s work force and are present at all along any upstream economic chain either formally or informally”.
Ms Walker added that between 1999 and 2020, the Nigerian government developed several national development plans, including the National economic Directions, The National Economic and Development Strategy, Vision 202020, Seven Points Agenda, Transformation Agenda, Economic Recovery Growth Plan, and the Economic Sustainability plan.
According to her, all these policies have not addressed women’s economic empowerment needs.
The training, she added, is, therefore, aimed at providing skills on techniques and strategies needed to advocate for improved inclusion of women in real economic opportunities.
‘’This capacity building, we believe, will help women groups in Nigeria to work together as coalitions with role differentiations to empower them to demand for their rights in the economic space through participation in the design, implementation, and evaluation of economic policies in Nigeria,’’ she added.
In her speech at the occasion, the Chairman, Export Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Bosun Solarin, charged the government at all levels on closure of gender gaps for women’s access to property, finance and decent work which are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
Mrs Solarin emphasized the need for the government to explore available initiatives and deploy needed resources towards the cause of women and children in the country.
The chairperson added that women should be offered equal opportunities with their male counterparts in top government positions and boards of public and private sector institutions, stressing that the inhibiting components in land use laws needed to be repelled and re-enacted with a view to allowing for more women access to land and property for business ventures.
She, however, commended the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Ministry of Industries and other MDAs working hard to include women in the economic support, assuring that women would continue to explore available opportunities challenging the Federal government to consider a special space for women if at all its lifting 100-million out of poverty initiative is to succeed.