Vital Voices’ Africa Team wrapped up a week of technical assistance on August 23 with Women in Management, Business, and Public Service (WIMBIZ), our SPARC partner organization in Lagos, Nigeria. We worked closely with WIMBIZ’ advocacy team to build its capacity in areas essential to the success of their campaign, which aims to facilitate compliance with policies to place more women on boards and in top management in Nigeria’s banking sector.
Sessions included a review of WIMBIZ’ advocacy plan; an adjustment of the program’s monitoring and evaluation framework, as well as technical training for their new M&E Team; practical instruction on creating and delivering effective presentations; and hands-on media training.
In the coming months, the WIMBIZ team will be holding a series of meetings with over 20 of Nigeria’s top banks to encourage their compliance with Nigeria’s Central Bank policy, which requires the appointment of women to fill a targeted 30 percent of bank board seats and 40 percent of their top management positions. All Nigerian banks are signatories to this policy, but have had difficulties implementing it, noting that board-ready women are difficult to find, and that those they know could do the job are a small set of women that end up being shuffled from board to board, leaving no room for new recruits.
Over the next two years, WIMBIZ will work to help banking sector leaders identify new board-ready and executive-level women for these positions. They will also be promoting accountability by publicizing progress made over time. At these levels, research shows that firms with higher numbers of women outperform those with fewer women in place, and, they experience higher productivity.
More women in decision-making positions within Nigeria’s banking system will ideally promote more transparency and good governance, as well as policies and services that meet the needs of women across the country. The WIMBIZ SPARC campaign seeks to increase the engagement of Nigerian women in the leadership of the country’s economy. Women are critical to Africa’s economic growth and to ensuring that benefits of such growth are felt at the household and community level.
Ernst & Young 2011 report, Women of Africa
Thomson Reuters report, Women in the Workplace
Thomson Reuters report, Mining the Metrics of Board Diversity
Opportunity Now UK Factsheet on Women in the Workforce