Ensuring equal access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender is essential for promoting sustainable development across the globe, Pearl Uzokwe, Director, Governance, and Sustainability, Sahara Group, has said.
Uzokwe, who spoke in Paris at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Private Finance for Sustainable Development Conference, which is holding from 28 -30 January, said galvanizing private finance alongside other sources of finance for gender equality was not only urgent but critical for sustained wealth creation, especially in developing countries.
Uzokwe said Sahara Group had consistently led the cause of equal access and opportunities in the private sector through support for gender-related projects and policies that support employment and growth within the organization which is free of any gender-based considerations. “Sahara Group is passionate about the issue of gender equality and we continue to promote and invest in projects that empower men and women to pursue economic prosperity. We are also entrenching gender diversity at the board level of the organization in line with global trends in corporate governance,” she said.
Noting the need for women empowerment as a precursor to achieving gender equality, Uzokwe said governments and businesses need to be “more deliberate and committed” in their support for activities that will connect girls and women to transformative economic opportunities. She said strengthening the private sector and ensuring well-defined and unbiased entry pathways are available at all levels.
“Sahara Group aligns with the position that empowering women and eliminating the hurdles to success for women in both the formal and informal sectors has the potential to set the tone for attaining several sustainable development goals, with special emphasis on goal 5 that speaks to gender equality,” she affirmed.
The OECD conference noted that a collaborative approach involving the government, business, civil society, and development agencies will be required to achieve the task of raising private finance towards promoting gender equality.
Participants called for an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and support female entrants, adding that diversity remained the most potent driver of innovation that is required to make businesses thrive and prosper. They also noted that since women provide 50 percent of that innovation ratio, ignoring their unique needs and offerings would be a cost too high for any organisation and country.