Capacity Building Workshop on Women’s Economic Empowerment

NEWS DIGEST – Partners working in the area of women’s economic empowerment converged in Lagos for 3-days to strengthen women advocacy and communications skills to enable them to demand for transformative inclusive policies that will scale up their limited power in the economy to having the necessary skills, resources, and opportunities needed to access and compete equitably in markets and the agency to control and benefit from economic gains in Nigeria.

Organized by 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), the  3-day capacity building workshop for women economic groups in Nigeria is supported by EpiAfric, Yellow Brick Road, Albright Stonebridge Group, and the HIVE.

The 3 -day capacity building workshop brought women entrepreneurship groups across Nigeria to develop their capacities on policy advocacy and communication as the skills needed to advocate for increased women’s participation in the economy.

The group are worried that despite several policies and plans from 199 to date, these policies have not been able to address and incorporate the needs of women economic empowerment.

According to the Executive Director, dRPC, Dr Judith-Ann Walker, represented by the Director Projects , Dr Stanley Ukpai, the capacity building workshop is necessary in view of the significant contribution of women in the nation’s economy, but despite that, they still constitute a meagre 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 said.

She added 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.

Dr Judith added that between 1999 and 2020, the Nigerian government developed several national development plans, and these include, 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. All these, she said, have not addressed women’s economic empowerment needs.

The training, she added, is therefore, organized and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide 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’’ He added

In her speech at the occasion, representative of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs Bosun Solarin, Chairman, Export Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, 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).

He emphasized the need for the government to explore available initiatives and deploy needed resources towards the cause of women and children in Nigeria.

The chamber said women should be offered equal opportunities with their male counterparts in top government positions and boards of public and private sector institutions, adding that the inhibiting components in land use laws need to be repealed and re-enacted with a view to allow for more women access to land and property for business ventures.

She then 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 will continue to explore available opportunities challenging the Federal government to consider a special space for women if its 100 million out of poverty initiative is to succeed.

The 3-day capacity building workshop is expected to place women groups in Nigeria in a strategic position to advocate and ensure their voices are heard and their roles are recognized as one of the strongest components for economic development in Nigeria.

Women groups participating in the workshop have expressed their concerns over the failure of governments at all levels to reconsider women’s economic requirements in policy design and implementation so as to strengthen their capacities to contribute to national development.