Mastercard, Un Women Join Hands To Advance Women Empowerment

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BEVERLY HILLS, March 08, (THEWILL) –  As part of broader International Women's Day activities, MasterCard and UN Women signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to address this imbalance and advance gender equality and women's economic empowerment.

The first initiative in this relationship is the launch of a pilot in Nigeria, which aims to provide half a million Nigerian women with ID cards enabled with e-payments functionality.

“Our partnership with UN Women is the result of a shared vision of a world where women are empowered to achieve their true potential,” Omokehinde Ojomuyide, MasterCard Vice President and Area Business Head, West Africa, says.

“Lack of identity is a critical barrier for women seeking to do something as simple as vote, own property or open an account to receive or send money. Together, we can make a real difference in these women's lives.”

“One of UN Women's main objectives is to increase women's economic empowerment. The partnership with MasterCard will help pave the way to economic freedom and financial inclusion for women, initially in Nigeria,” Lakshmi Puri, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Deputy Executive Director, says.

“We look forward to working together and see the potential of expanding the model to benefit women also in other countries. It is also encouraging that we will collaborate on knowledge generation, advocacy and resource mobilization for greater investment in gender equality and women's empowerment – reflecting MasterCard and its CEO's deep commitment to a Planet 50/50 and to supporting UNWOMEN's efforts,” she adds.

“This campaign will help at least half a million women in Nigeria gain access to financial services, many for the first time, and the support they need to enter the country's formal economy,” Ojomuyide says.

According to the World Bank, only 47 percent of women worldwide have access to formal financial services, compared with 51 percent of men. In Africa, this number increases to more than 70 percent of women.

In a related development, panellists at a programme organised by LafargeHolcim to mark the International Women's Day in Nigeria have strongly advocated for education of the girl-child and equal opportunity in the labour market.

The panellists, who included Adesuwa Anwuri, director, education quality assurance, Ministry of Education in Lagos, and Nike Ogunlesi, CEO of Ruff'n Tumble, argued that companies should ensure that women had same opportunity for employment.

Speaking at the forum in Lagos entitled 'Gender parity in the workplace,' Adesuwa believed that some companies don't engage women at management level for various reasons, which include family responsibilities, stating that sex should not be a determinant for employment.

In her comment, Ogunlesi challenged women to stand up to the limiting cultural beliefs in the society. According to Ogunlesi, “Today is a day to think, reflect and celebrate the women who have made the difference. As women, we have a huge role to play in the society.”

Also speaking, Fidelia Osime, Country Organisation & Human Resources Director at Lafarge Africa plc said “at Lafarge, we pledge our continuous support to female employees and believe that women should be encouraged in their respective careers and businesses everywhere in the world,”

“Whether it is supporting women in their careers or encouraging women in their businesses or in one of the many roles they play as mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, wives or colleagues, it is the time to recognize and celebrate women who have made impact in your life,” she said.

Story by David Oputah