Access Bank has declared its commitment to issue of gender empowerment and equality. This disclosure was made at the International Women’s Day commemorative event organised by the Women Empowerment Principles Leadership Group (WEPLG) which coincided with the 5th edition of the Equality Means Business meeting in New York.
At the Women Empowerment Principle Leadership Group meeting which is a part of the United Nations efforts on women empowerment, Access Bank represented by its Head, Group Human Resources, Bolaji Agbede, highlighted several initiatives the bank is implementing to boost women empowerment and gender equality within the organisation and the Nigerian society at large.
In her presentation during the feedback session to the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon on the 2013 WEPs, Agbede listed the creation of Access Women Network as one of the organisational initiatives created to support and encourage women in the employment of the Bank.
She added that “Outside Access Bank’s strong intermediation role in providing funding and training for women entrepreneurs through our partnership with the International Finance Corporation, we are equally aware of the challenges of career women and growing women, and consequently created the Access Women Network platform for women within our organisation to help them attain their personal goals and aspirations through mentoring and support”.
She also added that as “the only Nigerian bank that has signed on to the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) launched in 2009, Access Bank has continued to demonstrate leadership in the area of Women Empowerment. We have adopted the principles in the development of our Sustainability Report and developed gender focused community initiatives and would continue to support the WEPs Leadership Group as a signatory to the Principles by encouraging other organisations in Nigeria to sign on to the principles”.
Later in his address, Ban Ki Moon described the several initiatives that have been taken by participating organisations as a giant stride and great accomplishment in the journey towards Women Empowerment; particularly the implementation of the WEPs initiatives by corporate bodies.
He commended the CEOs whose organisations have signed on to the Women Empowerment Principles and announced the institution of the WEPs Leadership Awards to encourage effective application of the principles.
According to him “the 540 companies present here today demonstrate that implementing the WEPs and advancing gender equality is possible through corporate leadership and innovative programmes that create change not only within their own organizations, but throughout the value chain.”
In acknowledging the progress made so far regarding the Women Empowerment Principles, he explained that investing in women can yield a significant gender dividend and urged both the public and private sectors to reap this benefit by investing in women and bringing them into leadership positions; noting that the most common form of violence experienced by women globally is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner.