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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

An initiative to foster greater inclusion, equity, and opportunities designed to promote gender empowerment has been launched by Unity Bank Plc.

The Nigerian lender unveiled this campaign, tagged Unity Bank Women Network, as part of initiatives to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023.

Unity Bank Women’s Network was conceptualised as a gender advocacy platform to enable the bank to target and champion initiatives to promote networking and relationships beginning with females within the institution, providing mentorship opportunities and advocacy on social and other relevant issues such as gender equality, parenting, financial education, and leadership.

The Managing Director of Unity Bank, Mrs Tomi Semefun, while announcing the commencement of the scheme in Lagos on Wednesday, said, as women, “We must also do our part to create a more equitable society that empowers women, drives them to do more, entrust them with responsibilities, and celebrate their achievements every step of the way.”

She announced the bank’s Chief Compliance Officer, Mrs Patricia Ahunanya, as the coordinator of the Women Network, expressing optimism that the programme “will promote more visibility, inclusion, and collaboration amongst women within our organization.”

Speaking further on this year’s IWD theme, #EmbraceEquity, Mrs Somefun said the day provides another opportunity to reflect on the ongoing advocacy for gender equality, adding, “as women, we must always take the time to think about the role we play in creating a sustainable future through our contribution to the success of our organizations, homes, businesses, and the entire society, and evaluate our level of impact and influence.”

She, therefore, pledged that as an institution, “Unity Bank will continue to create an enabling and equitable environment that focuses on empowering its female workforce by creating an atmosphere in which women can thrive irrespective of culture, background, and education.”

While speaking on the Unity Bank Women Network launch, Mrs Ahunanya said that after creating impact with many collaborative initiatives to empower women, it is very significant that the Bank is at last domesticating a viable project initiative to further co-create and drive impact.

To demonstrate commitment to gender inclusion, Unity Bank is one of the financial institutions in Nigeria that has up to three female representatives on its Board and has, over the years, celebrated the IWD with socially impactful initiatives aimed at empowering women and creating an enabling environment for the female gender to thrive.

In the 2022 edition, the Bank collaborated with ALTSchool Africa to empower female software engineers, a strategic initiative to empower the female gender to participate actively in the burgeoning technology sector.

Similarly, the bank partnered with the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) to roll out an engagement programme for women entrepreneurs commemorating the IWD in March 2022.

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