Gender equality in the workplace has become a globally recognized and acceptable reality. In Nigeria, Women make up 20% of executive teams, higher than the global average according to a report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
This growth presents a strong business case for reducing gender gaps in Nigeria and building a stronger and more inclusive ecosystem; however, there are still gaps that need to be filled at the corporate leadership level, in the workforce, and in corporate supply chains.
IFC, through the Nigeria2equal program, carried out a Gender Gap Assessment for 30 Leading Companies listed on the Nigerian Exchange. The report noted that the average score on Nigerian companies on the Equileap Scorecard for gender equality was 32% compared to the global average of 34%.
Women represent 17% of Board Chairs (higher than the global average of 6%) and no company on the leading companies listed on the Nigerian exchange has both a female CEO and CFO, neither did any company achieve gender balance at the senior management level.
From the report, the average percentage of women in the workforce is 33%. This is lower than the global average of 37%. 30% of companies achieved gender balance in the workforce. These companies include Access Bank, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, FCMB Group, Fidelity Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Sterling Bank, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank.
In terms of equal compensation and work-life balance, 17% of companies have a living wage policy: FBN Holdings; International Breweries; Nestle Nigeria; Nigerian Breweries and Unilever Nigeria. Meanwhile, other companies published information on the topic of parental leave but did not specify if the leave was paid, or the length of leave was below the required number of weeks.
53% of companies published an anti-sexual harassment policy. While this number is low, this is a somewhat better performance than the global average of 49%. 80% of companies published a human rights policy, and 73% published a social supply chain policy.
The financial service sector was the top performing with an average score of 38%. It was also the most-represented sector in the dataset, The next highest-represented sector with an average score of 29% was consumer staples.
Addressing gender gaps in Nigeria’s private sector, which impacts women’s ability to participate equally as men, takes on added urgency when considering the country’s rapid population growth.
IFC is committed to ensuring equal opportunities for both men and women in the private sector by addressing persistent gender gaps that hold women back.
Specific interventions might include increased female representation in corporate leadership positions; equal pay for equal work; family leave and flexible work policies; support for women-owned small businesses and supply chain diversity; and ending sexual harassment in the world of work to mitigate economic losses.