A statement from the CBN said Emefiele disclosed this on Thursday while addressing participants at a webinar organised by the Deputy Governor in charge of the Financial System Stability Directorate, Mrs Aishah Ahmad, as part of activities to commemorate the 2022 International Women’s Day at the CBN.
According to him, the bank, in an effort to increase representation of women in the industry, had been using the gender diversity model as part of the criteria for approving the membership of boards of institutions under its regulatory purview.
Emefiele said that such gender mandates was necessary to break the bias in the Nigerian banking industry, and that; ‘eight out of the 23 bank chief executive officers, representing 35 per cent, were women, which was way above the global average.”
According to him, 32 per cent of the CBN’s total workforce are female, which surpasses affirmative action.
He also said that the bank has issued gender-mandated regulations to pave way for gender diversity and inclusiveness at the top management levels in the Nigerian banking industry.
The CBN, he noted, had also issued a policy that requires a minimum of 30 per cent of female representation on boards and 40 per cent at the top management level in the banking industry.
This, he said, was similar to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy recommends increasing female staff of microfinance banks to 30 per cent.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow, in recognition of the significance of empowering women to be part of the solution to the climate change crisis, Emefiele said that the campaign theme for 2022, (#BreakTheBias) aimed to raise awareness on the persistent bias and discrimination in communities, workplaces, schools and the society in order to create a ‘gender equal world’ that is ‘diverse, equitable and inclusive’.
Emefiele added that the CBN, under his watch, had demonstrated its commitment to diversity and inclusiveness by designing and implementing a wide variety of initiatives, programmes and interventions to promote entrepreneurship, reduce poverty, generate employment and deepen financial inclusion for women.
The governor disclosed that females had benefitted hugely from the Bank’s intervention programmes such as the Agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (and the COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility.
Specifically, he said that out of N134.67bn disbursed to 37,273 AGSMEIS beneficiaries, as of January 2022, 33 per cent (N44.1bn) went to 12,511 female beneficiaries.