By Merit Ibe
Women in manufacturing companies reaffirmed the need for government to leverage gender as it needs 49.1% women to increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and improve the economy.
The women, who spoke to Daily Sun over the weekend, lamented that even the National Assembly is unwilling to recognize women’s contribution to the country’s development, as evidenced by the rejection of gender equality bills. which aimed to modify the Constitution in the National Assembly. According to them, this highlighted the need to constantly fight against the systemic evils and oppression that society imposes on women.
The first female Vice President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ms. Ekama Akpan, noted that for a woman to break even in a male-dominated association or sector, she must be politically female fighter and men don’t like that.
“Women are focused and perform well in their fields. The government needs 49.1% women to help increase Nigeria’s GDP. It is therefore a question of giving them a leverage effect.
Highlighting some of the challenges that women in the sector face, she said it was sometimes so difficult to get loans from banks.
“A situation where a woman will be asked to bring her husband before she gets a loan or a withdrawal is ridiculous. But for a man to get a loan, it’s no problem.
“The system and the environment are denying. Until the authorities understand that women are the progress of this country, it will be difficult to move or progress.
“Although the banks tell you they have something for women, you apply, they make it so hard to get in. They don’t cut the system short like they do for men. don’t need to go to the banks, they will take the papers home or to the office for signature, but for a woman she has to fight, use whatever she has as collateral Well the good news is that most women don’t have to like men. They have more integrity. When it comes to creativity, we have it.
Akan, who is also the CEO of Showers Group, denounced a situation where there are only 10 women in the middle of 100 men, adding that the situation was not developing the 49.1% that women constitute.
She noted that if 30% of this 49.1% are educated and doing business, it will increase employment, reduce juvenile delinquency, because women create massive jobs.
“Governments of European countries understand the place of women in the development of the economy,” Akan said, adding that “our government must be held accountable for the lack of success of women in business and manufacturing.
Until they change policies to welcome and encourage women, the economy will be problematic.
“We hold the government responsible for the problems of this country, in part the lack of respect for women and the development of women.
For her part, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of FAE Limited, Princess Layo Bakare-Okeowo, said that the mentality that women are meant to be seen and not heard is actually affecting the company and the sector.
“Our women respect our men as Africans but in this new era there should be gender equality as women can dive into any field or sector and break even Women shouldn’t be afraid to move in, we do.
“Banks recognize that most women do not default on loans like men. Women are more reliable in business than men, because of the passion with which we do business.
Bakare-Okeowo advised the government to make the business environment conducive for women in the sector to profit from the business, noting that most women shy away from the sector due to the business environment. hard.
In the case of loans, the government should guarantee loans to women. It may not be easy to get collateral as women, which is part of the loan requirements.
“When these women get these loans, they settle down, build more factories and employ more young people, thus reducing the unemployment rate. Women’s businesses create more jobs.
She encouraged women who want to get into manufacturing not to be deterred by the harsh environment, but to strive to be among the key drivers of the economy.