Women constitute between 50 and 80 per cent of Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprise operators globally, according to the Ogun State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs. Josephine ‘Tomi Soboyejo.
Soboyejo, said this at the Women in Export Development Sensitisation Programme, organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council with the theme: “Building Export Capability, Competence and Competitiveness of Women,” held recently at Sango-Otta, Ogun State.
She said: “Women constitute the largest percentage of Micro, Small and Medium-Scale Enterprise operators. They are very essential because they are more involved in MSMEs. When you look at the world, you will discover that the percentage of women in MSMEs is between 50 and 80 per cent. So, you cannot really push them aside, because they are very hard working people.
“A lot of women who are into farming do not know what to do with their farm produce, likewise those who are into the cottage industry. This is because most of them are not looking at the international market. That is why this kind of workshop is organised to create awareness for them on how to explore the opportunities.”
According to her, the challenges facing women include tradition, culture and male-ego, which date back to the time when the national population census was conducted in some countries and women were left uncounted because of the disregard for the feminine gender.
She called on women to acquire education and training, which she pointed out was a veritable tool for them to gain knowledge and improve on their businesses beyond their present levels of operations.
And speaking at the occasionn, the Co-ordinator, NEPC, Women In Export Development Programme, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Obidike, said the programme was designed in line with achieving the Millennium Development Goal N3.
She said, “NEPC-WIELP is aimed at mainstreaming gender perspective, using relevant, targeted support policies and services to empower Nigerian women‘s capacity, competence and competitiveness in non-oil export trade.
“NEPC-WIEDP provides assistance to participating Nigerian women in core critical export service areas; market intelligence, capacity building, technical assistance, market linkages, access to finance, export advocacy and trade facilitation.”
However, the Director and Area Controller, South, NEPC, Mr. Olajide Ibrahim, said women were very prudent in managing resources, adding that they were naturally-born entrepreneurs.