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IWD 2023: Olam Agri’s inspiring gender equality, inclusion initiative

The annual International Women’s Day Celebrations (IWD) presents an opportunity to celebrate the impressive achievements of women. It draws attention to women’s economic, social, cultural, and political contributions across communities. It recognises the progress that has been recorded in creating a level playing field for both the male and female genders to advance their careers in whatever industries they choose.

The world over, women’s role in society is fast evolving. More women are going to college, taking up employment outside the home, climbing up the ladder in the workplace, and making significant contributions to the global economy. It is reported that 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies are presently being led by women. Women’s sports are also gaining more traction as seen in the wild celebrations that followed the English Women’s football team’s triumph at the Euro Cup in 2022.

Narrowing this down to Africa, there has been an improvement in women’s participation in the economy and politics. Notably, about 20 percent of the African Union (AU) member states have accomplished a 30 percent women’s representation in parliament. Strategic state administrative roles in finance, defence and foreign affairs, which were usually filled by men, are being occupied by women in some states on the continent. The remarkable leap in the female gender’s socioeconomic participation in Africa is not unattached to the segment’s access to formal education, vocational training, and adoption of technology on a wider scale.

Hence, to commemorate IWD, businesses, governments, and regional and global agencies unfurled their women empowerment credentials as well as spotlighted the women driving change and providing inspiration for others in the category. Olam Agri in Nigeria, a leading agribusiness, chose the commemorative day to demonstrate its commitment to providing opportunities for women to access equal opportunities and positively impact society.

One of the pillars of the agribusiness Seeds for the Future (SFTF) Foundation’s corporate social and sustainability drive is economic empowerment of women. The firm’s women empowerment focus has seen it embark on strategic empowerment programmes comprising equipping women with baking skills, supporting female smallholder farmers with irrigation facilities, and sponsoring women to acquire useful certifications, such as the one offered by National Business and Technical (NABTECH) board to women bakers.

To commemorate the 2023 IWD, the agribusiness chose to fete and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of its female staff members under the ‘Supercharger’ and Globally Reaching Olam Women (GROW) initiatives.

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