The Federal Government on Thursday said it was committed to implementing gender smart policies geared toward improving the participation of women in key sectors of the economy.
Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, gave the assurance while declaring open a one-day Conference on Women in Oil and Gas Industry in Lagos.
The conference, organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), had “Mainstreaming Women in the Oil and Gas Industry” as its theme.
Yemi-Esan said that Nigerian women had flourished under the goodwill of President Muhammadu Buhari, who had led by example through the appointment of women into key governance and economic positions.
She urged both states and local government councils to emulate the president by creating opportunities for capable women in their areas and ensuring their participation in governance.
According to her, effective implementation of gender-related policies is dependent on actions taken by women to acquire technical skills and the needed competence when the opportunity arises.
“I implore all stakeholders to collaborate with the federal government, through the mass media and the traditional media, to re-echo the message to the communities on the need to support women and young girls to pursue technical courses and leadership aspirations,’’she said.
Also, Mrs Hadiza Usman, Managing Director, Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), said the inclusion of more women in governance was one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which was being pursued by the government.
Usman said the challenges being faced by women in various professional fields were enormous but were surmountable, especially with mentoring programmes like the conference.
On her part, Mrs Joana Maduka, representing Women in Energy Board, said that women accounted for about 15 per cent of the technical workforce in the energy and oil and gas industry.
Maduka commended NCDMB for organising the conference, promising that they would collaborate with the board to achieve gender balance and more visibility for women working in the energy sector.
In his address of welcome, Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, NCDMB, said the conference was organised to deliberate on how women could contribute more to the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Wabote said the industry was vital to the nation’s economy, noting that it was unfortunate that women were not being adequately represented, thereby reducing its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said there was need for more women participation in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the industry, as they had continued to demonstrate their capabilities globally when given the opportunity. (NAN)