As the world marks this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), women have been urged to strive for excellence and choose to challenge to be at every table where decisions are being made in the workplace, politics, economy and the society at large.
This was the summary of the virtual event held by new-age financial solutions powerhouse, Zedcrest Group, in celebration of International Women’s Day on Monday, 8 March 2021.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s event: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, the Group Managing Director of Zedcrest, Adedayo Amzat,CFA commended the tremendous efforts of women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the gaps that remain.
“Women’s full and effective participation and leadership in all areas of life drive progress for everyone. Women are Heads of States or Governments in 22 countries, while only 24.9 per cent of national parliamentarians are women. At the current rate of progress, gender equality among Heads of Governments will take another 130 years.
“It’s time to change the narrative. The emergence of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the first woman and first African as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is a recent reminder of the capacity of women to lead.”
On the company’s commitment to gender balance in the workplace, Amzat noted that women make up the majority of Zedcrest workforce and also occupy leadership roles across different levels of its subsidiaries. He added that Zedcrest’s early-stage investment vehicle, Ventures@Zedcrest has a special interest in women-led startups.
In her remark, Stella Duru, Partner at Banwo & Ighodalo and Non-Executive Director of the Zedcrest Group, urged women to be more intentional about growth in their career and society. “Both men and women need to challenge the stereotype of forcing women to choose between being a career woman or a mother. There is nothing holding women back in being both and growing to the zenith of their career. A woman raising kids or being pregnant does not mean that she ceases to be strong or competent.”
“As a nation, we need to give more leadership opportunities to women. During the recent End-SARS protests, women were at the forefront of the call for change. The Aba women riot is another example of how women have led evolutional changes in this country”, she added.
The second guest speaker at the event, Abiola Adekoya, Lead Wealth Advisor, Artios Capital & Non-Executive Director at Zedcrest Investment Managers, charged women to focus on their strengths and continue to change the narrative.
“We need more women that will be bold enough to have the hard conversation at their workplace, society, or wherever they find themselves”, she said.
Adekoya concluded her speech by encouraging women to lean into their femininity and lead with the unique strengths of womanhood.
Celebrated annually on March 8, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge. The theme calls out to the world to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality. It elaborates on how we can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.