Amina Oyagbola’s passion, forging a path for working women through WISCAR
Amina Oyagbola, former MTN Executive and renowned Business Leader, radiates a calmness that disarms you at every encounter. But peel away the layers of gentility and you are left with a woman of an uncommon steely resolve.
Having noticed an alarming absence of women at the top rudder of corporate Nigeria, Oyagbola took upon herself the mantle to challenge the notion that women can only play second bit roles at workplace and society as a whole. In her bid to address the dearth of women in leadership positions in the work place as well as her desire to provide mentorship support to enable women live up to their potentials and contribute positively to nation building, Oyagbola, along with other well-meaning Nigerian’s set up the Women in Successful Career, WISCAR, a mentorship and leadership platform designed to position Nigerian women for nation building.
However, decisively dealing with age-old issues regarding gender discriminations against working women was always going to be a tough call. Globally, a lot of work still needs to be done for the gender gap to be closed and for gender issues to get the desired attention. Statistics about working women current workplace trends validate this stance. Brandonline, a foremost online publishing platform in its report,” 25 Discriminations Against Women In The Workplace Statistics”, stated that 40 percent of businesses do not have a single woman at managerial level while 59 percent of women who are working today are making less than $8 or its equivalent, per hour for their contributions. It gets even worse. The same research puts the percentage of jobs that are available to men and women where the woman will not earn as much as the man at 99 percent. Brandonline concludes that “the more educated and independent a woman happens to be, then the more likely she is to face some form of discrimination”.
This is the central issue that Amina Oyagbola threw herself into when she set up WISCAR. Spurred on by the support of her husband, Adebayo Oyagbola, and other members of the WISCAR Advisory Board to build capacity though leadership trading and mentorship and advocate for the empowerment of women. Together with the formidable team, they are deploying WISCAR as a network and formidable platform with which to change the narrative with respect to the challenges faced by Nigerian working women. While it may sometimes seem like a daunting, task, the team shares Amina’s vision of developing women to build a better nation.
Today, WISACR is widely acknowledged as a strong advocacy voice for equal opportunities for women in the workplace as well as a veritable platform for mentoring young women through its structured mentorship programme. The NGO’s structured mentorship and leadership programme has become one of the most sought after by women all over the country who desire capacity and empowerment building support to overcome the multifaceted challenges they face in their various workplaces.
The remarkable achievements some WISCAR mentees bare testimony to the success of the program. Adepeju Jaiyeoba, a lawyer and past mentee of WISCAR was recently recognized by none other than former President of the United States; Barak Obama, at a Global Entrepreneurship event held in the United States of America. WISCAR was also a Launchpad for Amara Agbim, a 2010 mentee who was one of the recipients of the 2013 YOUWIN grant. She recently launched CARE4, a microfinance bank that is driving financial inclusion for women and girls and empowering them in the Domestic Service Sector in Nigeria. Tinu Adelegan, yet another product of WISCAR, recently received the much coveted Chevening Scholarship award to pursue a one year masters at Leeds University, England. Then there is Moji Fashola, one of the three lawyers selected to represent Nigeria at the International lawyers Africa Programme in the U.K. The list goes on and on.
WISCAR recently celebrated its 10th year anniversary leadership and mentoring conference. It was a grand event that attracted top players in corporate Nigeria. Some of the dignitaries and speakers at the event included the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, who represented the Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Mrs. Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner, TLcom Capital and former Minister of Communication; Mr. Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director, Shell, Nigeria; Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi amongst others. Indeed the presence of leaders in Nigeria’s corporate space as well as captains of industry was proof enough that WISCAR has been able to galvanize corporate Nigeria to drive diversity and inclusion and encourage equal opportunity for women in the workplace in Nigeria.
WISCAR’s 10th anniversary provided the perfect opportunity to announce the body’s next big move: expansion of the mentorship programme to women and girls across Universities and Secondary schools by the WISCAR Alumni. Already, past mentees along with Oyagbola have committed to birthing the initiative in the schools across the country in a new Grow and Learn Initiative. The move is sure to take the advocacy to a whole new phase.
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