To adopt gender-responsive measures to better target and widen representation, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in collaboration with the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has inaugurated the Women Entrepreneurs Self-check (WE-Check) action plan.
The project is also to promote gender equality and formalisation through women’s entrepreneurship development in Nigeria.
The Guardian learnt it is a way of encouraging organisations that offer services through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to focus more on women for business uplift and to tackle their challenges.
ILO Facilitator, Dr. Obiageli Nwobi, said the objective of the project, which began in August 2021 to April 2023, would afford NECA and NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) adopt gender-responsive measures to better target, and serve women entrepreneurs and widen representation in both the association and the network.
She said the action plan entailed having a comprehensive survey on the needs, challenges and preferences of women, with issue-based policies that protect women, like gender harassment.
“With the improved services, members can qualify to join NECA, which is a larger platform for businesses. The process is supposed to be mutually beneficial to the organisation rendering it. ”
The action plan will qualify NECA-ILO’s certificate of recognition as an organisation that is favourably disposed to women. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that favours women entrepreneurs and the organisation implementing it,” she said.
Director-General of NECA, Adewale Oyerinde, who was represented by the Director, of Learning and Development, Celine Oni, said the plan would go in accordance with the timeline, assuring the ILO that it was fully on the ground to ensure the action plan is implemented.
Also, the President of NNEW, Funmilayo Arowoogun, said the self-assessment tool was intended to better build the capacity of women and their businesses.
On some of the challenges facing women entrepreneurs, she identified issues on ease of doing business, funding challenges, policy summersault and insecurity.
She advocated a good working environment, adding: “Our plan is to move the informal sector to formal for better assessment of opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.”