Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) held its iconic Legends Ball in recognition and celebration of twenty female living legends in Nigeria.
The exclusive evening-gown event, to mark WIMBIZ’s 20th Anniversary, held on October 30th in Lagos. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Lady Maiden Alex Ibru, Prof. Ibironke Akinsete, Onyeka Onwenu, Chief Mrs Kofo Olawoye; Dr Sarah Jubril, Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye and Chief Dr Onikepo Akande, OON, CON were among the recognized female pioneers, who through sheer audacity have broken barriers for women and achieved incredible feats in their different endeavours.
Speaking about the legends, Ifeyinwa Ighodalo, Chairman, Board of Trustees, WIMBIZ said: We are celebrating female legends who dared to challenge the status quo when nobody else could and succeeded.”
In addition to recognizing the female legends, Mrs. Ighodalo emphasized that WIMBIZ has built an institution that is beyond its trustees. “As a founding trustee, I am excited to see younger women take on leadership roles within the WIMBIZ community, 10 years ago, having mentored and worked with our current leaders, we passed on the baton of leadership to them and its been graceful watching them flourish.”
On her part, the Director General of World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, urged women to be more adventurous in their chosen sector.
“For me men must learn to give way for women in most of these positions and women must learn to be humble, simple in whatever positions they find themselves in, “she said.
Speaking on WIMBIZ’s legacy, Chairperson, Executive Council, WIMBIZ, Ngover Ihyembe-Nwankwo, in her welcome address acknowledged WIMBIZ’s intentionality as a catalyst which inspires, connects and empowers women, as well as its resoluteness in the promotion of gender diversity, sustainability and inclusive prosperity.
Reflecting on the WIMBIZ story and journey, she acutely acknowledged that more work still needs to be done, while noting that proportionally more women are underemployed, underpaid, and underrepresented
“In politics, the World Economic Forum records that out of a total of 149 countries, Nigeria is ranked as having the 139th largest gender gap in political empowerment. In management, women represent only 17 percent of Board Chairs, though significantly higher than the global average of 6 percent but still low when compared against the average percentage of women in the workforce of 33 per cent.
“In entrepreneurship, female-owned businesses are more likely to fail to scale and remain only at the micro-level. So, on the one hand, we are celebrating progress, on the other hand, there is still a lot to be done collectively & individually, “he stated.
She added, “I yearn for a woman as a Governor, a female Vice President and dare I say it, even a Madam President. And so, even as I step down, I know that there is still much more to be done. So I pledge my continued support for gender parity or as we like to call it, the gender agenda.”
The Annual Conference is WIMBIZ’s flagship event which is held in November of each year with an average attendance of over 1500 delegates to deliberate on a contemporary theme with a broad range of topical issues that are relevant to women in the business, corporate, public and development sectors.
The WIMBIZ Legends Ball is one in a series of pre-conference events leading to the 20th WIMBIZ Annual Conference set to take place on November 4th and 5th, 2021. Confirmed speakers for the Conference are Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Economist and Founder, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Atedo Peterside, CON; former Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika, as well as Founder, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (now GTCo) and FATE Foundation, Fola Adeola