SEC calls for greater financial independence for women

Ms. Oteh stressed the importance of empowering women economically to enable them cope with the various challenges they are faced with.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, on Friday called for financial and economic empowerment for women; to enable them face social and cultural challenges.

Arunma Oteh, the Director-General of the Commission, made the call during the financial empowerment forum for women to commemorate the International Women’s Day with the theme: “Enabling Women’s Financial Inclusion.”

March 8 is celebrated annually as the International Women’s Day. Nigeria’s theme for the 2013 celebration is “The Gender Agenda: Gaining momentum.”

Ms. Oteh stressed the importance of empowering women economically to enable them cope with the various challenges they are faced with.

She said, “Here in Nigeria, women’s right to financial and economic empowerment is very important to us. Women are facing enormous social and cultural challenges. Yet, there is no doubt that many of the cultural challenges women face today can be overcome through greater financial independence.”

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Ms. Oteh said that the commission hoped to enhance retail investor participation in the Nigerian capital market by unlocking the huge potentials, which Nigeria’s female population represented.

“We, as the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, understand that you cannot empower women without economic empowerment. So we recognise our role in making sure that we promote financial inclusion and promote women’s understanding of the importance of saving, investing and managing their finances,” she said.

The director-general said that the commission appreciated the immense influence women had on household finances and by extension that of the larger society.

“This realisation informs our decision at the SEC to leverage this year’s event, to specially focus on economic empowerment of women and girls through savings and investment,” she said.

She added that women constituted half of the world’s population and represented 45 per cent of African’s population and 49 per cent of Nigerian population.

“Any nation that is not thinking about its women is obviously not going to grow as much as it should grow. Empowering women in our opinion is one of the fastest ways to enable comparativeness and prosperity of a nation,” she said.

According to her, the commission offers products like collective investment schemes, Islamic, bond, equity and money market funds.

Nimi Akinkugbe, founder and CEO, Bestman Games Ltd. said that the lack of proper planning had affected women in managing their homes.

Mrs. Akinkugbe advised women to plan according to their finances, rather than focusing on what others were doing. She urged them to identify where their money went to, avoid societal pressure and ensure their money is spent on important things like children’s education and investment. She warned them to desist from being influenced by people around them as such acts might lead them into trouble.

Felicia Sani, the President of Market Women Association, called on the Federal Government to empower women, as it would improve the economy of the nation. She said that women had learnt a lot from the forum as the day was not just for celebration, but for education too.

“Some of us do not know anything about insurance, but learnt about it and the importance of savings and investment here today,” she said.

Other highlights of the event include poetry recital by female students of Olumawu Basic Secondary School, Wuse; drama presentation by female students of the Baptist High School, Kubwa; and dance presentation by female students of Government Secondary School, Kubwa.



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