On Friday 26th November, African Women on Board (AWB) will host a launch event in Lagos to unveil the organisation’s new global Safety in the Workplace initiative.
Staged in partnership with the Faculty of Law of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Association of Company Secretaries and Legal Advisers (ACSLA), and leading Law firms and private sector organisations, the event will feature a number of high-profile speakers from the worlds of business, law and politics including Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa – DVC UniLag, H.E. Amb. Mary Beth Leonard – US Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe – Chairman, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Asue Ighodalo – Chairman, NESG
AWB, A Nigerian-founded global non-profit organisation is dedicated to advancing the cause of African and diaspora women around the world. The organisation’s new programme, Safety in the [Legal] Workplace, has been designed to facilitate systems change directly on the ground. Also a part of this, a dedicated Gender Equity Certification programme will be unveiled – providing assessments, recommendations and trainings – to help organisations and HR/employment practitioners implement safer working environments.
“We’re delighted to welcome such a distinguished line-up of stakeholders from the Nigerian public and private sectors to speak at this important event,” said Nkiru Balonwu, Founder and Co-Chair of African Women on Board. “Most adults spend most of their waking lives at work, but for women in particular, these environments all too often become challenging ones. Issues such as bullying, sexual harassment, emotional and financial abuse, and broader inequality have not gone away and worse still – if left unchecked – such environments can fuel cultures that end up facilitating gender-based violence (GBV).” Ms. Yinka Edu of Udoma Udoma and Bello Osagie (UUBO) commended the timing of the initiative which her organisation is pleased to support: “It is significant that AWB is leading the response to Gender-Based Violence during the Commemoration of the 2021 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which has the important theme, End Femicide.” Mr. Rotimi Olusola of Guinness Nigeria PLC/ACSLA said, “I see a strong entry point for catalysing and creating a safe workplace for women to ascend, unhindered by Gender-Based Violence, to the peak of their professions through systems change supported by Company Secretaries and HR professionals”.
A legal sector imperative
The legal sector has been selected as the starting point for the launch as it represents both a challenge and an opportunity for change.
AWB research, as well as the direct experiences of members of its network, shows that workplace discrimination, abuse and violence is particularly prevalent in the sector. However, it is also an industry that holds significance when it comes to setting both precedents and examples. This can be a conduit for wider change.
Introducing the initiative, Dr. Balonwu said “Our new Safety in the Workplace initiative has been specifically designed to facilitate real systems change from the ground up, reshaping traditional working environments to become places that accommodate growth and encourage women to realise their full potential. It’s important also to note that while this is a Nigeria-led initiative, the issue of workplace violence against women remains prominent around the world and must be tackled in a joined-up way across society.” AWB Chairperson, Prof Chioma Agomo continued, “I am quite convinced that we are going in the right direction together with the right partners, using a replicable strategy to create safer workplaces globally – educational institutions, Law firms, professional bodies and the private sector.”
Return to real-world events
Some highlights from the event, which is being staged in-person at The Wings Towers, VI, Lagos will include keynotes and panel discussions:
- Gender Equity and the Future of Work – H.E. Amb. Mary Beth Leonard
- Laying the Foundation: Educational Institutions and Safety in the World of Work – Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa
- Safety in Educational Institutions: Taking the Lead, Learnings from the Faculty of Law UniLag – Prof. Ige Bolodekun
- Safety in the [Legal] Workplace: A View from Ghana – Diana Asonaba Dapaah
- Safety in the [Legal] Workplace: Learnings from the IBA – Sara Carnegie
- “Safety in the [Legal] Workplace: The Role of Educational Institutions & Professional Bodies in Laying the Foundation” – Ayodele Atsenuwa (UniLag); Chinyere Okorocha (Jackson, Etti & Edu, NBA Women Forum); Yemi Candide-Johnson (Strachan Partners); Prof. Chioma Agomo (African Women on Board).
- “Reimagining Work: Young Lawyers as Catalysts for Change/Change Agents”
Oyinkansola Fawehinmi (Digital Music Commerce and Exchange Ltd); Edidiong Umoh (Law Student, UniLag); Ifeoma Solanke (Strachan Partners); Adedunmade Onibokun (Legalnaija/Adedunmade Onibokun & Co).
- “Rule of Law & Accountability: The Consequences of No Consequences”
Sandra Oyewole (Olajide Oyewole LLP); Onikepo Braithwaite (This Day); Oladayo Olaide(MacArthur Foundation); Ayotola Jagun (Oando Plc); Ose Okpeku (The Law Crest LLP).
- “The Modern General Counsel: Diversity & Inclusion In Male Dominated Industries & The Private Sector as a Whole” – Rotimi Odusola (Guinness Nigeria PLC); Abidemi Ademola (Unilever Nigeria); Seye Kosoko (FBN Holdings PLC); Fola Akanbi (Cadbury Plc); Ayokunle Ayoko (Berger Paints Nigeria).
- “Inclusion as a Right: Gender Equity, Male Allies, & Safety in the Workplace (Men, Women, Masculinity, Allyship) – Olu Verheijen (Latimer Energy); Chidinma Lawanson (Mastercard Foundation); Alex Irune (Oando PLC); Chike Obianwu (Templars).
- “Tripling the Bottom Line: People, Workplace Safety, Culture Change & The Private Sector” – Adeola Azeez- (Sigma Risk); Ernest Ndukwe (MTN Nigeria); Asue Ighodalo (NESG).
The launch event will provide further details on the new initiative, and attendees will receive an exclusive first copy of the AWB Safety in the [Legal] Workplace whitepaper and strategy guide.
About African Women on Board (AWB)
AWB is an expanding network of African women on the continent and in the diaspora who aspire to become leaders within their workplaces, communities, and governments. The organisation is dedicated to reshaping the future for African women and girls globally by mainstreaming their voices and fast-tracking their trajectory into the leadership roles of the future. You can find out more here.
RSVP to email@example.com to attend.