Advocating for better gender balance in Nigeria’s workforce

Lanre Olusola

I once had a friend many years back, who went for a job interview at a Legal firm. She had over 10 years of legal experience, but had to pause for three years, because of her children. She went for this interview, after asking her series of questions, the recruiter asked her why she had no work experience in the last 3 years, and she explained why.

Rather than understanding, the recruiter replied “Your mates are trying to build their career, but you are busy giving birth”. As sad as this story might seem, a lot of women go through this same ordeal, if not worse.

Gender inequality in our society today, is among the most prevalent forms of social inequality, which exists all over the world, with different effects in different regions. These differences are primarily due to cultural legacies, historical development, geographical location and religious norms which pre-dominate the society.

Religion plays a vital role in the cultural life of different spaces. It is deeply rooted in peoples’ experiences and influences the socio-economic and political direction of the society.

Results of a 2016 study from Harvard’s women in computer science advocacy council, reported that women with up to 8 years of programming experience display the same level of confidence as men with 0-1 year of programming experience.

Why is this, it is a known fact that the African society is a patriarchal society; sadly this patriarchy has seeped into the organizational cultures of companies and has killed the confidence of the female gender.

A major gap that also needs to be closed in the organizational sphere is that of pay. Many women earn significantly lower than their male counterparts in many organizations.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women working full time in 2016 made eighty-one (81) cents for each dollar made by a man.

The New York Times also reported that, the gap is larger among college graduates, and “far larger in business, finance and legal careers than in science and technology jobs.”

The gap increases with age and when women marry and begin having children. Too many women do not know their worth or understand how powerful they are and this may affect.

How can this gap be closed?
1. This begins from the recruitment process, low confidence will mean that said woman will most likely request for the salary of an individual with one year experience. In schools, we need to teach both girls and boys to aim for ambitious careers, demand better pay and learn to negotiate.

In today’s world where everyone is advocating for balance, we still have women who feel the need to put committed relationships on hold because they want to focus on their careers, we still have organizations that do not hire newly married women, or women with kids between a certain age group because it is believed that they would not be able to focus on work.

The minds of women need to be re-engineered to learn to ask for what is theirs and what they deserve, instead of telling them not to ask for too much.

This reengineering will go as far back as going to schools, teaching the teachers to unlearn, teaching the parents new methods of parenting to re-engineer the child and of course religious houses.

2. There is need for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects that involve educating young girls on value and self worth; today’s young girls are tomorrow’s female staff in organizations.

3. Policies that incorporate gender equality and inclusion into the workplace are highly recommended to bridge this gap of inequality in the work environment.

It is also important for women to educate themselves and take responsibility for self and professional development. Take up courses such as our Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Masterclass, which can help you build your self awareness, esteem and confidence.

The goal of NLP is to help every individual understand how their thoughts and belief(s), affect how they operate in the world, and how necessary it is, to change the thoughts and behavior patterns that have a disempowering effect on you.

As the saying goes: “You are what you believe.” NLP is not just a model or tool; it is a Life Changing and transformational journey. Once you experience it, you can never remain the same, I promise you!

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