Women have called on the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to partner MMS Plus Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame to build an enduring database for Nigerian women.
Speaking at the just concluded 2015 Class of MMS Plus Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame in Lagos, two weeks ago,
the pioneer Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Secretary General of Abuja MOU, Mrs. Mfon Usoro said the existing platform provided by MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame has the fundamental template the federal government can build on to achieve a database for women as it is the practice in other civilized nations.
Usoro who was a member of a panel of discussants at the 4th edition of MMS Plus Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame with the theme: Capacity Developments: Evolving A Viable CSR Initiative, noted that such databank is useful as reference pool in academic, political, economic social and cultural purposes which is a modern tool for engagement and measuring processes and other vital uses.
The Abuja MoU boss said, the role is a critical function of the government to lead all support processes deemed necessary for the capacity development of Nigeria women across all socio-economic segment of society. She lamented that the Nigerian Society has not been very supportive of gender capacity development and called on government and corporate organizations to relax what she described as overt male tendencies in allocating social responsibilities that is more responsive to the needs of women, in addition to removing unnecessary impediments on the path of top positions that can be occupied by women in corporate boardrooms and in the political arena.
She said, “I noticed that some organizations are shy in focusing on women perhaps for fear of being labeled gender sensitive or because of the male ego thing that only men can occupy certain sensitive positions. We have seen some women demonstrate rare higher intellectual capacity than men, and there is no reason such women cannot provide a more insightful leadership of given the chance.
“Women issues should be at the fore front of corporate organizations’ human capacity development initiatives. It is about time we make it a policy matter to give women equal opportunity in our development initiatives”, she said
Usoro urged women especially younger women to approach women who have distinguished themselves and are role models to learn few tricks about their success stories. This according to her will guide them against failure as well prepare them for challenges.
Jean Chiazor, who delivered the paper presentation on the above theme, said CSR can be pursued from both formal and informal approach.
She noted that CSR built on educational approach can be very impactful on people and noted that with the proper information, women can swing up to the summit of their capabilities. In addition, she said informal approaches like networking, touring, visitations and skills acquisition programmes are veritable sources of credible CSR.
Chiazor informed that social responsibility programmes is an engagement of interest tailored for the good of society because such effort is intended to encourage enterprise, broaden opportunities, discourage corrupt tendencies and irresponsible behavior in the community.
She exhaustively explored the CSR concept by standing on the universal definitions of the subject matter as given by George Bernard Shaw to captivate participants at the event held at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Media Centre, Iganmu, at the National Theatre premises as she ended with a cliché: “If you train a woman, you have trained a nation.”
Another panelist,maritime operator and ship owner, Mrs. Margaret Oraekwesi lamented that far fewer women are involved in boardrooms of corporate organizations in Nigeria, despite possessing the requisite credentials, stressing that women has the extra gift of striking the necessary balance in critical corporate decision making.
This is even as she advocated the establishment of a trade bank, specially for women, to reduce the gender bias in lending institutions as well raise the participation of promising female entrepreneurs. In her words, “Very few women can be seen in the boardrooms of corporate organizations. I know quite a number of capable and intelligent women who can rub shoulders with men at some of these boardrooms, and whose feminine clarity can also resolve some knotty corporate decisions and ensure a healthier and stronger business performance. We need more women atop of these organizations to positively affect policies whether in terms of corporate growth or in terms of CSR that will help develop our society”.
“I own fishing trawlers and was involved in trawlers association leadership for some years. Most women I have seen want to raise the business frontier in fishing trade. They have wonderful business ideas about offshore and local fishing business plans but just don’t have the funds. The banks continually dribble them over loans and capital. I have invited some of them and we came up with modified plans since the banks are not helping enough.
“There are also some talented women I know who are condemned to subordinate office positions in some organizations. These are very talented and brilliant women with leadership ability. People should not be denied a job because they are women. We want a bank specially dedicated to women to promote their businesses. This will help to reduce killing of great business ideas and plans”, Oraekwesi said.
On the panel was also the Deputy Director, Public Relations of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Hajia Lami Tumaka, who said her organization’s CSR programme has been very responsive and active to the plight of the under privileged and others hit by blows of disaster across the nation. She said since the upsurge of the activities of insurgents in parts of the country, NIMASA has responded purposefully and timely to assuage citizens’ pains and agony.
She said, “In view of the IDPs saga in the North East, the leadership of NIMASA has reinvigorated its CSR agenda. Recently we paid courtesy visits to the Nigerian Navy and Army. In fact, the Chief of Army Staff requested that we should give consideration to the children of soldiers who lost their lives fighting Boko Haram. We promised to look into it and management has a plan to also extend its National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP)”.
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA