Power Company Partners with USAID to Promote Gender Equality
By Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan
The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, says plans are underway to improve the gender mix for female employees from 14% to at least 20% in the short term and then scale up as time goes by.
The company says the decision is premised on statistics which indicate that women leaders perform better than their male counterparts in strategic decision making.
According to the power company, the gut feeling and instinct that women are known for cannot be overshadowed by cold hard facts and figures that male managers tend to base their decision on.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of IBEDC, Kingsley Achife stated this on Thursday at a conference for women named; ‘Disco4Women Conference 2022′, held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.
DISCO, an acronym for Discussing Issues Surrounding Career Opportunities for women, was organised in partnership with the United States Agency International Development (USAID) to promote gender equality and empower women in their chosen careers.
Achife, represented by the Chief Business Transformation and Strategy Officer, Mr Iranola Ayodeji, noted that IBEDC is at the forefront of gender equality in the power sector in Nigeria and the company sees engendering as one of its main growth strategies in the medium and long terms.
It partnered with the USAID to push the engendering agenda across the power sector in Nigeria and beyond.
He stated: “For so long a period, the Nigerian power industry has been seen as the domain of the male gender. This fact is even buttressed by the terminologies used to identify roles in the industry e.g. Linesmen, Draftsmen, etc. However, I am pleased to inform you that IBEDC has changed the narrative by being the first Disco to adopt more gender friendly nomenclatures such as lines worker. We hope other Discos will follow suit.”
Achife said IBEDC had formed a team of employees, nicknamed Manbassadors, trained by USAID, to engage the male and female gender from all walks of life to embrace the concept of gender equality and had been appointed as the MenEngage Champion.
The Guest Speaker at the event, Mrs. Patricia Akinlotan, Executive Director, EZ 37 Solution Ltd, disclosed that the conference was about empowering women to rise above the limitations they placed on themselves.
She urged the government to prioritise the education of women.
“Everything starts with you and if you remove the glass ceiling on your mind, you clear all obstacles and you have intentional focus, then you see what others are not seeing. You can have access to information because we live in a digital age and information is power,” she said.
A 14-year-old gender equality advocate, Aline Shahimi, in a brief presentation, said: “Change starts from the house. If you want to equate a society, where we are developed and men and women are valued equally, then you must start from the home.”
The Chief Human Resources Officer of IBEDC, Ms. Ehi Obaseki, said gender equality had come to stay, calling on gender stereotypes to change their thinking.
She stated: “Women need to be more visible and step up to apply for jobs. When we put out a job advert, we noticed men are quicker to apply than women, who have other considerations. Women need to break that glass ceiling, be visible and pursue our careers.”
The high point of the event was the recognition of outstanding women across the franchise of the organization.