IWD: FirstBank MD assures fairness and justice for economic growth.
The Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, said Wednesday in Lagos that the bank has made good progress in addressing gender imbalance.
This is even as he said that the objective remains that, in the very near future, the bank will have its first female chief executive officer.
Speaking in Lagos at the FirstBank Women Network International Women’s Day event with the theme, “Embrace Equity,” Adeduntan said the bank currently has two female executives and a number of ladies who are general managers, also at the deputy general manager level.
Adeduntan noted that he has had the privilege and opportunity to work with a good number of women at the bank.
He said, “I have been privileged to work with virtually everyone here; I see the brain, I see the resilience, I see the tenacity, and I see the hunger to succeed, which for me is much more important.” Many people have the brain, but if that hunger to succeed is missing, then they cannot fully utilize their brains.
“We are not yet where we would like to be, but we are very clear in terms of the direction of travel, and we are very clear in terms of what we are doing to ensure that we have more women go through the pipeline and get to the top.”
“The single objective of the FirstBank Women Network is and remains creating an enabling environment that allows our ladies to blossom, to thrive, and to be the best that they can be, so that you can contribute your quota to achieving our vision, which is to be the African Bank of First Choice.”
“Clearly, without an iota of doubt and without your contribution, that vision will be unattainable. We are not yet where we would like to be, but we are very clear in terms of our direction of travel and what we are doing to ensure that we have more women go through the pipeline and get to the top.
He, however, assured women that the leadership team of the bank is fully committed to supporting the female gender to ensure they become the best.
According to him, the FirstBank Women Network, which started in March 2019, was created to create an enabling environment that allows ladies in the bank to blossom, thrive, and be the best that they can be, in order to “contribute your quota to achieving our vision, which is to be the African Bank of First Choice.”
Also speaking at the event, a banker and investor, Mr. Andrew Alli, stressed the need for corporations to encourage girls and women to embrace opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
He said the opportunities in STEM education are enormous and, if properly tapped, would enhance the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Alli said that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector had recorded tremendous growth and presently contributes about 18 percent to the GDP, up from two or three percent in years past.
He said, “I think that this is the time to try and change that narrative around what happens in technology companies; though, a number of those companies are already starting to do this,” adding that there was a need for female executives to change the narrative and encourage more girls and women to participate actively in the sector.
Chairman of the FirstBank Women Network, Mrs. Olaitan Martins, urged women to take advantage of the numerous resources available for learning and growth.
She said, “There are about 27 percent of tech-related jobs, and women are underrepresented in STEM.” This gap can truly be bridged, and it starts with us.
“We have the power to break this barrier and pave the way for the future generation of women in innovation and technology; we need to participate more actively and contribute new perspectives with our unique creativity and problem-solving skills.”
“We don’t need to be afraid; sometimes we think technology is too difficult. We should not be afraid to pursue our interest in innovation and technology, and there are numerous resources available for our learning and growth.
“So, together, we can break down the gender barrier in technology and innovation and create a more diverse and inclusive world for us all,” she said. “So, I encourage you all to subscribe, take that bold step, develop interest, and we will assist you,” she added.
Academic Director and Senior Fellow in the Operations, Information Systems, and Marketing Division of Lagos Business School, Prof. Olayinka David-West, also called on women to be changemakers and social problem solvers.
“So when we talk about changemakers, there are different types, and I think we all fit into different categories of changemakers?”
“First of all, we have social architects, influencers, and skill catalyzers; we could be inventors, putting financial resources into development; we could be inventors creating new things; and we also have connectors,” she said.