By Sinmisola Sode
Women in Successful Careers, WISCAR, which was established to help women to excel in their various careers while balancing the home, recently held their 10th year anniversary celebration at the Muson Centre in Lagos.
Aminat Oyagbola, founder of WISCAR, in her address stated that the establishment of the organization was conceived out of the fact that at a point in her career, she had no one to turn to as a mentor to share the joys of accomplishment or the pains of failure and seek direction in times of confusion. Then she realized that there are other women out there facing this same challenge and then the idea was conceived and eventually established. “Our dream is to do more in our mentoring”.
Her excellency, the deputy governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Idiat Adebule representing the Governor of Lagos State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode also said it is heartwarming that women have continued to support each other in the growth and building of a better individual and a nation as a whole as the role of women in nation building cannot be emphasized enough. Adebule addressing an audience with majority of women comprising of dignitaries, achievers and role models from various careers and students stated that the Lagos state government appreciates what WISCAR is doing assuring that the government will through policies ensure that gender based abuse will be eradicated. She says the government will continue to partner with establishments like WISCAR to empower women for nation building.
Dr. Omobola Johnson, Chairperson, AAI & former Minister of Communication Technology, gave the keynote speech. “We live in a very unequal world, inequality in income, inequality in promotion at places of work, etc.” Going further, she said gender violence is still very rampant even though there has been great awareness against the gender imbalance in the last few years. She explained that although she grew up confident about her gender as her parents were not gender biased, including being lucky to have worked in organizations that were not discriminative, she came to realize much later that she was among the gender minority. And this discovery made her set out to do something similar to WISCAR. “Women have been marginalized in the developing world. To fight this battle then we have to identify the battle.” She concluded.
Speaking on the theme: developing the woman for nation building Dr. Johnson highlights how technology can be women inclusive, which is making women understand that it is not gender based and then encourage them to embrace it and go for it. This will serve as a platform that they can prioritize for the leverage of other women.
Concluding her address, she encouraged women to be their sister’s keepers. “Women stand up for each other, then they will grow stronger to stop every marginalization against them”.
More light was shed on this theme with panelists ; Bisi Fayemi, co-founder AWDF; Udo Okonjo, CEO Fine& Country; Deputy governor of Lagos State, Idiat Adebule, chaired by the Amina Oyagbola, founder, WISCAR. Contributing to the topic, Udo Okonjo said, women are naturally blessed with the power of intuition and multitasking and the male counterparts should be made to understand that women are equal to them. They should understand that if women are left out, there is less productivity. Her excellency, Idiat Adebule added that women should take the change into their hands starting with their homes by stopping gender bias in the home. “Teach your children equally with same responsibilities, male and female.” she said. Bisi Fayemi said “the most important thing for us to do as women is to teach the girls child to the extent that she’s confident in herself and her gender and doesn’t feel inferior to the male counterpart. The girl child also should take her stand and not accept what the society throws at you. It is important and imperative to continually develop yourself so that nobody would dictate to you.” While Dr Johnson added that CEOs should take it upon themselves and ensure non-discrimination against the female gender in their work places.
The event also had two plenary sessions discussing topics like breaking the barriers to getting top jobs and staying there and does equal opportunity drive economic success and profitability? With panelists like Peju Adebanjo, Hon. Commissioner of Agriculture, Ogun state; Kemi Onabanjo, Mckinsey& company; Adesua Dozie, general counsel GE; Oluseun Abimbola, Attorney General, Oyo state; Osagie Okunbor, MD shell; ‘Laoye Jaiyeola, DG, NESG; Clare Omatsaye, Director JNCI; Nglan Most, HRD Schlumberger; Nozipho January-Bardill, Senior adviser for UN women in South Africa and Doyin Salami, member, CBN’s monetary policy committee. These sessions made us understand that not all women want to be CEOs, some just want to nurture and grow their families which is fine. Another thing learnt is that you as a woman should partner(marry) with a man who can help you achieve what you want to and sees things from your perspective so he can help in building you to be the woman you want to be.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of the Distinguished WISCAR Award 2017 to Dr Omobola Johnson for “upholding the good face of the womanhood and being a role model for others to follow”.
The event ended with remarks by Mrs Tope, CEO DKK, right after the valediction of this year’s mentees and the launch of the WISCAR Alumni project.