The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has restated that the inclusion of women in the economy is key to stimulating economic growth as well as the petroleum engineering sector.
Buhari stated this during the Women Leadership Lecture Series 2022 which was organized by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigerian Council, to commemorate the International Women’s Day celebration in Lagos on Tuesday.
Speaking on the theme of the event tagged, “Breaking the Bias: Accelerating Business and Economic growth through Inclusion”, Buhari noted that women’s education is a factor in maternal and child mortality and in countries where there is a high unemployment rate, less economic opportunities, gender equality has been proven to stimulate economic growth.
The First Lady, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Legal Matters, Office of the First Lady, Aisha Rimi, said that unless women have access to empowerment opportunities and are allowed to gain education as well as access to the workforce, many countries will not develop as they should.
According to her, the gender pay gap means that women do not earn as much as men do and in Nigeria, the case is not different.
‘I, therefore, urge ladies, women to continue the struggle by promoting the right women, girls to enable them to develop the right fundamental skills and gain invaluable knowledge that will help them thrive in their careers and make decisions.
‘We need to also end violence, assault against women by strengthening rules against domestic violence. We need to be more committed to ensuring the safety of women and girls in our everyday lives and not turning a blind eye to them when there are in dangerous situations,’ Buhari stated.
The keynote speaker of the event, the Chairman, Board of NNPC Limited, Senator Margery Chuba-Okadigbo, while commending several initiatives of President Muhammadu Buhari towards the oil sector, said that the Nigerian economy over the last decade has grown considerably pre-COVID and added that the economic growth has not impacted significantly on the level of poverty and economic inequality in the country.
‘Nigeria continues to face massive developmental challenges including the need to reduce the dependency on oil and diversify the economy. For us at NNPC, we see this as a great opportunity backed by the PIA to address some of these inclusivity challenges. Thus, we see skill development, financial inclusion, economic growth and social development as elements that can boost inclusive growth in Nigeria,’ she said.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Chairman, SPE Council, Prof Olalekan Olafuyi, stated that the SPE Women Leadership Series, which is the maiden edition, is aimed at driving the conversation around gender equality, especially in a national context.
He assured that the SPE, being a gender-sensitive organisation will continue to champion leadership programmes as well as unlock the potential of gender parity.