Abuja, NIGERIA — The All Progressive Congress (APC) Candidate for Enugu North/Enugu South Federal Constituency in the just concluded National Assembly election, Hon (Mrs) Juliet Egbo, has expressed her concerns about the experiences of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, highlighting and suggesting ways to tackle the gender inequality to shape women’s journeys to and through entrepreneurship.
Speaking in a virtual conference dedicated to promoting women’s rights and gender equality to mark the 2023 International Women Day, Mrs Egbo, says gender inequality undermines women’s rights and reinforce barriers preventing women from reaching their full potential across multiple aspects of their lives.
The event organized by Time Africa Magazine, themed “Women Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work’, Mrs. Egbo also explored gender stereotypes and their impact on women’s entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment.
According to Mrs. Egbo, “significantly, women’s journeys into entrepreneurship, politics, aspirations, support systems, opportunities, access to resources, perceptions, and the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem receive backlashes because they are women.
While highlighting the crucial need for the Nigerian youth to be part of the journey to achieving women’s economic empowerment, she urged the youth to “call out and tear down gender inequality to break the bias for women and girl child”.
While drawing attention to the plight of women and girls who experience discrimination – such as those living in poverty, those who are disabled, and those from ethnic fanatic backgrounds, Mrs. Egbo, reiterated that cultural and ethnic bigots, political stakeholders should be held a accountable for hatching gender inequality.
According to her “gender equality lies at the nexus of economic justice, political unbalance and sustainable development”, and that a core issue preventing all these objectives is lack of government will to break the jinx of poverty, which women bear the brunt due to pervasive gender stereotypes.
“Poverty prevents girls from pursuing education, prevents women from taking on political or workplace leadership, limits time for relaxation and poses stress on their physical and mental health”, Mrs. Egbo said.
To mitigate this, she called for increased and robust social and legal protection mechanisms for women entrepreneurs particularly through allotting reasonable percentage of political and corporate positions to women build a caring economy for all.
According to her “as I defied social expectations of my gender, I joined politics to bring development to my people. I struggled to be taken seriously by male peers, who chalked up my accomplishments to sheer luck instead of merit.”
“Women must build self-confidence, make hard-driven decisions and develop to their fullest potential,” she said.
She explained that “the visibility of women entering the labour market and politics is essential as they become role models, and the position of women as breadwinners within households’ changes attitudes in the domestic sphere and beyond, which has been essential for the country’s economic growth and success”, adding that women’s rights are vital prerequisite to achieving women’s economic empowerment.