SEC committed to women empowerment, says D-G

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ABUJA – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday said it was committed to achieving women economic empowerment.
The Director General of SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh, said this at the First Quarter Learning Series and Celebration of the International Women’s Day in Abuja.
She said that for any society to be at its best, it was important to empower women economically to enable it contribute its quota to the economic.
Oteh emphasised the need for all to celebrate the critical roles of women in nurturing children and giving them the best of attention.
She said that women, all over the world, were faced with societal realities that threatened to limit their achievements and prevent them from attaining their economic potentials.
She identified poor access to finance as a major challenge facing the women folk, adding that they were often charged higher interest rates whenever they were able to access loans.
“According to a World Bank report on Investment Climate in Nigeria, about 76 per cent of women rely on informal sources of funds and savings.
“This is in sharp contrast to only about one per cent that obtained capital from the formal sector. Many other surveys reported women being denied bank loans in high numbers.
“Our women also face discriminatory customary practise in inheriting lands and properties.
“In Nigeria, although women make up between 60 – 70 per cent of the rural workforce, they are five times less likely to own land than men,’’ she said.
Oteh called on Nigerians to always support the women in their lives and avoid situations where gender would stand as barrier to limiting a woman’s goal and aspirations.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Viola Onwuliri, said that a world without full potential for women was a limping world.
She called on Nigerian men to realise that equality with women was not rivalry, but partnership and prayed that women be given the opportunity to make the world a better place.
Mrs Ngozi Chianakwalam, the Chairman, Investment and Securities Tribunal, said that globally, decision-making spaces for women’s human rights had continued to dwindle, whilst gender equality remained a mirage.
Chianakwalam said the International Women’s Day afforded a platform for the needed awakening to appraise the fate of the womenfolk with a “determination to taking our destiny in our own hands”.
She said women were not present in equal numbers in business, politics, education and health, whilst violence against women was worse than that of men.
Chianakwalam appraised the efforts by President Jonathan in ensuring that gender consideration was relevant in decision making as well as appointment to government and political offices.
The Chairman, Guild of Medical Directors, Dr Ejike Oji, said a report by World Bank showed that 1.2 billion people worldwide lived in abject poverty and majority of them were women.
He said this was so because women had limited opportunities.
Oji said 60 per cent of peasant farmers were women and one of the ways to solve this problem of poverty was to provide women with adequate land.
Dr Evelyn Oputu, the Managing Director, Bank of Industry, called on women to learn the culture of saving and recording all incomes that came to them.
She said excess spending would not allow women to save and this had affected their ability to excel in their various businesses.
Oputu encouraged women to seek ways in which they could better their living and businesses, such as accessing loans from Enterprise Development Centres as co-operatives.
She advised women traders to look beyond where they were as traders and think of ways that they could become manufacturers.
The theme of the celebration was: “Inspiring Change for Women’s Economic Empowerment.”
Present at the event were Mrs Ann Nosike, Head, Gender Support for Women Development, the Executive Director, Equity Advocate, Mrs E. Ede, and the National Market Women Association, among others. (NAN)


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