When it comes to women in leadership roles Nigeria presents a paradox

Feb 2, 2018 | Articles, Featured

As Boardwalk Leadership embarks on the second Commonwealth report benchmarking women in leadership roles across 52 countries we shine a spotlight on Nigeria.

In 2015 22% of all board positions in companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange were held by women. Some exceptional companies had 50% or more female board representation. Recruiting women onto boards is only one half of the story – there needs to be a greater push for women achieving executive (or C-suite) roles, the average figure is 15%. Some companies with a small number of C-suite positions have a higher proportion of women holding executive roles. Nigeria has made a solid start in gender leadership the challenger, however, is to see how much progress has been made in 2018 to ensure a wider number of companies have a strong representation of women in leadership roles.

In 2015 38 companies did not have female leadership on their boards or in executive leadership roles across all sectors. Our women in leadership map spotlights which Nigerian companies need to pay specific attention to gender leadership.

The business reasons for gender diverse leadership teams are compelling with a 15% uplift on financial performance (McKinsey research). However to really benefit companies need a strong pipeline of women across the organisation and this can only be achieved with clear targets and a well-developed plan. Whilst quotas are not a solution, voluntary targets set by industries with specific interventions to prepare an inclusive culture amongst leaders and train women for leadership roles does work.

As we prepare to unveil the updated data for 2018 at the heads of Government summit in April, we see some companies that have made great progress and others that have slowed or reversed progress. Using examples of good practice can be a great starting point, but we endeavor to use the results of this research to inform new services and solutions for businesses facing these exact kinds of challenges.

Stay tuned as we explore progress across other Commonwealth Countries as our research develops.