IoD advocates for gender equity and the inclusion of women in governance
The Institute of Directors Nigeria (IoD) has been advocating for a more diverse board of directors in companies across the country to deepen gender equity in the private sector of the economy and the inclusion of more women in governance.
“I think it is imperative for us to address the substance of the evolving nature of boards of directors, whose focus is on the inclusion of women in nation building. The main objective is to create and raise awareness of the extent of women’s participation in all aspects of the economy,” said Demola Osibogun, Chair of the IoD Women Directors Development Committee.
Speaking at the recent Annual Women Directors Conference 2022 on the theme “Facing the Future: The Changing Nature of Boards of Directors in a Rapidly Changing World”, held at the Ecobank Pan African Center in Lagos, Osibogun said the conference was designed to broaden the horizons of women as the institute’s advocacy forum. “The conference is an advocacy forum to continuously promote the importance and imperatives of creating inclusive growth as a cornerstone of sustainable development,” Osibogun said.
According to her, the theme is a wake-up call for the boards due to its evolving nature. “The choice of this important theme was carefully made in recognition of the global paradigm shift. The scope of change is huge, the pace is extremely fast, everyone is affected and huge expectations are placed firmly on the shoulders of owners, boards and management of the company”.
She reiterated that the IoD remains committed to promoting best practices in corporate governance, including the need for increased participation of women in the private and public sectors of the Nigerian economy.
According to her, diversity issues on boards of directors are essential to the sustainability of companies and organizations.
Kunle Elebute, Chairman of KPMG Africa, in his keynote address, urged female directors to think strategically, saying cost management is a daily activity. He said it is essential that the focus of corporate boards increasingly goes beyond rapid changes in technology; impact of the global economy; increased levels of talent emigration; increased stakeholder expectations; social norms; inclusion and diversity. “As times change, it’s essential that advice continually evolves to stay relevant,” Elebute said.
Also read: Udom calls for the elimination of gender-based violence in Nigeria
According to him, boards must be able to engage in strategy and envision the future of the company by developing a vivid picture of the future.
“Reassess board engagement in strategy, digital transformation, and other accelerating megatrends. Examine the alignment of company purpose, culture, values and strategy, and identify specific practices to facilitate quality board discussions on strategy and the future of company,” he said.
The KPMG chairman also urged directors to prioritize talent, human capital management and CEO succession. He said this will help identify key talent categories in short supply and the company’s strategy to successfully compete for those talents.
“Make sure the company is prepared for a CEO change, whether it’s a succession or an emergency. Understand the company’s talent strategy and its alignment with the strategy more broad and foresee short-term and long-term needs,” Elebute said.
Ije Jidenma, President and Chair of the Board, IoD, in her welcoming remarks, said the progressive board is now moving beyond compliance, saying careful deployment of talent yields better results.
Razia Khan, Chief Economist and Head of Research, Middle East and Africa (MEA), Standard Chartered Bank, said there was a new growth headwind for sub-Saharan Africa. He indicated that central banks may have to slow growth to ensure stability.