Nigeria: Championing Cases for Women in Leadership

ElectHER in partnership with African Women on Board and AGS Tribe recently raised funds for women in leadership.

ElectHER in partnership with African Women on Board (AWB), and AGS Tribe has charged women home and abroad to strengthen the sister’s keeper narrative, and amplify women’s leadership across the country.

This is just as it launched the WomenForWomen Fund, a $1million crowdfund to support women ahead of the 2023 general elections.

This was the tone set at the Women for Women conference in Lagos on Tuesday, March 30 this year.

Among issues tabled through moderated sessions included politics, equality and equity across governance, financial inclusion, business and entrepreneurship, with support from Platform Capital Group, One Women by Sterling Bank, GAIA Africa and Auroe scents hosted by Laila Johnson-Salami.

With the theme “Women for Women Conference; Partnering for Parity”, the Co-founder and Executive Director of ElectHer, Ibijoke Faborode inspired the audience about reinforcing the idea of sisterhood among the women, and most paramount, partnership.

She emphasised: “It is paramount we understand the critical role we play as women. That is why this conference is pushing the narrative instead of demystifying the myth that women don’t support each other.

“I kind of feel as women rise and evolve as we overcome barriers and succeed in our field, it is important we grow with a sense of coming together with one common vision and purpose, to start harnessing our talents and resources.”

To bring other women on board, the organisation has employed social media – Instagram and Twitter as ElectHER_ng, and its websites.

According to Faborode, they have lined up various innovative and instructive activities. “We had an art exhibition three weeks ago, where we commissioned about 10 artistes.

“They created their interpretation of women leadership and it was over good food, conversations, wine but immersing the private sector and growing their social consciousness subconsciously.”

On March 1 this year, she recalled, “we launched our 10 million dollar fund to fund women for office in 2023 so it has been a rollercoaster really and I think that because we are still passionate about the work we do, because we have a purpose we are very fixed on how to tackle the non representation ahead of 2023”.

Although ElectHER hosts more programmes physically in Lagos and virtually, Faborode revealed, “We are hoping we can scale up the scope from across Nigeria and also pan African wise as well.”

While lending a voice to the women folk, she tasked the women, “Be very unapologetic about who you are; focus on your competence.”

Meanwhile, a key highlight of the conference was the historical launch of a first of its kind collaborative fund the WomenforWomen Fund, a crowdfunding initiative led by a collective of three women’s organisation – ElectHER, African Women on Board, and AGS Tribe, with a goal to raise $1 million from Nigerian women home and abroad, for fellow women seeking to run for elective office in 2023.

The fund is a sub-fund under ElectHER’s Agender35 campaign- which has an overarching goal to raise a $10 million fund to empower 1000 women to Decide to Run and directly fund 35 women to competitively run for elective office in the forthcoming Nigerian general elections.

In her view, Abosede George-Ogan, Co-founder of ElectHER stated, “In US, organisations like Emily’s list have raised over $600 million to support thousands of pro-choice women to run for office. It is time to start building a similar funding base in Nigeria for women who will represent the interest of women and girls in political leadership positions.”

She, however, hinted that the unregulated growing costs of running elections in Nigeria, financial inclusion to de-risk the process of running and mobilise more for political leadership is more crucial than ever.

Reacting to this feat, Nkiru Balonwu, chair, African Women on Board (AWB), bemoaned that the lack of funding and campaign support are key factors that limit the political ambitions of women.

“As we advocate for measures to increase the representation of women in governance, and as the general elections draw closer, there is no better time than now for frameworks to be put in place to ensure that female candidates in 2023 get the support they need,” she emphasised.

Also airing her views, Ife Durosinmi-Etti, founder AGS Tribe, outlined that there is a serious need for more women in elective office and if “we really want to move the needle to get real change, we need to pull all our resources together to make this happen”.

For Vera Ebhohon, Business and Product Manager, Sterling Bank, they are aware that women are very important in the art space and make up 75 per cent of the agricultural work force.