Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN), Nigeria’s leading food and Agro-allied Group commemorated the 2021 International Women’s Day recently with a virtual event that brought together key stakeholders in the company and esteemed speakers from various sectors.

The session, which was hosted by the FMN Women's Network, a gender equity initiative of FMN, featured a panel of distinguished personalities with years of business and leadership experience from different sectors.

Panellists at the event included Dr Mrs Salamatu Suleiman, FMN Board Member and Lead Mentor, Mrs Yimika Adeboye, Cluster Director West Africa, Mondelez International and MD, Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Mrs Juliet Anammah, FMN Board Member and Group Chairperson Jumia Group, Ms Mira Mehta, Founder and CEO, Tomato Jos and Captain Marvin Abe, Managing Director, Apapa Bulk Terminal Ltd. The event was hosted by Mr Boye Olusanya, GMD/CEO FMN and Mr John Coumantaros, Chairman FMN as Lead sponsor.

In his keynote address, the chairman of FMN, Mr John Coumantaros applauded the FMN Women’s Network for their efforts in raising awareness, mentoring, and shaping the experience of women across the company. He assured them that FMN remains committed to the development of enabling structures that will ensure women have the opportunity to achieve their career aspirations.

Mr. Boye Olusanya, the GMD said that it has been shown that empowering women helps to substantially increase economic activities.

He further noted:
“As we strive to build a society of equal opportunity and free of gender discrimination, we must continue to discuss implicit bias as a country. And we must be very aware of this reality when attempting to encourage and advance women up the corporate ladder.”

The event's panellists discussed the #IWD2021 theme, #ChoosetoChallenge, which calls for action to challenge and point out gender bias and inequality. They also explored various action points from recruitment to company culture and opportunity creation as ways of breaking barriers to corporate inclusion.

They advocated for a change in attitude from merely recruiting women as a token gesture to hiring women who are eligible and making a conscious effort to identify women who have the skills and attributes needed for these positions. More importantly, company culture should be designed to support work-life balance, productivity and inclusion for women.

They noted that recognizing the link between the increased presence of women in the workforce in different cadres to a company's bottom line is vital. Companies who are aware of this, reap the financial and strategic rewards that inclusion brings.

In closing, they urged women to embrace mentorship and coaching schemes as tools to navigate career growth as they continue to speak out and stay visible.

FMN Lead Mentor Dr Salamatu Suleiman praised the organization of the event and the growth strategy that is being driven by the FMN Women's Network. She noted that with the right education, training and increased access to productive resources and expanded job opportunities, the sky is the limit for FMN Women.