… Reiterates commitment to gender equality
By Chinenye Anuforo
MTN Nigeria has reiterated its commitment to promoting gender equality and balance in the workplace by signing the United Nations Women Empowerment Principles (UNWEPs).
The Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) emphasizes the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Speaking during the signing ceremony at the weekend, the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Karl Toriola pointed out that MTN is firmly committed to gender balance because of its belief that gender equality and balance is good for the company as well as the society and will help MTN as a business to grow better just as it does for GDP in the country.
He explained that MTN support it’s belief through very deliberate action. Hear him, “We have taken a principle carve that any recruitment or promotions that happened in the company, we’re going to do our best to reserve approximately 70 per cent of those for women. And why is it 70 per cent? It is because we have calculated that statistically, we want to meet our commitments to achieve gender equality by 2030.”
Continuing, Toriola said there’s a lot of other actions in the organization through MTN Foundation that are focused on empowering women and they will continue to drive those. “We are behind on board’s gender balance, but as we have now refresh our board, you will see that, we will move very quickly towards gender balance.
Our statement of support for the women’s economic empowerment program is that, we the business leaders from across the globe want to express support by advancing equality between women and men to bring the broadest two of talents to our endeavors. And as the world and the business world is changing, we don’t want to downplay the importance of men in our society. But, the truth is, in this place of transition towards all sorts of different models, the skills, the emotional intelligence, the perceptiveness, the understanding of how human beings work, the building of wider societies are skills which you find much more prominent these days in women.
So, it’s very important for the business to actually have the skills in the company. We want to further our company’s competitiveness, we want to meet our corporate responsibility and sustainability commitments. We want to encourage economic and social conditions that provide opportunities for women and men, girls and boys, and to foster sustainable development in countries in which we operate. Therefore, we welcome the provisions of the women’s empowerment principle.”
In her opening remarks, Ms. Florence Raes, UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa congratulated MTN Nigeria for the partnership noting that singing of the WEPs by MTN would really make a difference for women, MTN and the country.
In his own speech, Mr. Kalim Shah, Senior Country Manager, Nigeria, International Finance Corporation (IFC) noted that the signing ceremony highlighted the importance of gender equality for economic development and growth. It brings attention to the pivotal role the private sector can play in advancing gender equality to achieve the sustainable development goals, and to raise awareness about the women’s empowerment principles.
He said, “Research shows that societies with more gender equality tend to be more resilient, and organizations that reduce barriers to women in the workplace grow more quickly. Conversely, organizations that fail to address gender equality risks getting left behind. For these reasons through our investment and advisory expertise, IFC supports companies that promote women’s advancements as leaders and entrepreneurs, consumers, employees and business leaders, because it is no loopt only a moral imperative, but it’s also a smart business strategy.
According to our colleagues at the World Bank, if Nigeria can reduce gender equality its GDP could grow by an additional 5.8%.”
He encouraged more private sector companies to continue just like MTN to explore innovative ways to raise the quality and promote the advancement of women as leaders, employees and entrepreneurs.