On the 8th of April 2014, under the leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigeria officially became the largest economy in Africa overtaking South Africa, for the first time in history. His policy thrusts have positioned him as the first African leader to fully embrace and execute the Beijing 30% quota; President Goodluck Jonathan boldly appointed an unprecedented number of women into strategic federal level positions directly linked to his transformation agenda.
Secondly, as part of his determination to revolutionise the Nigerian economy, he signed the Local Content Bill into law in 2010 (one of his first acts in office). One of the key tenets of the law specifies that 70% of employment positions in the oil and gas sector must be occupied by indigenes.
The Gender Emergence and Economic Development (GEED) conference examined the relationship between the two factors mentioned above and their direct benefits to the Nigerian economy. The story is simple; the Beijing 30% quota, backed by President Jonathan’s executive power, saw the appointment of the first female Minister of Petroleum Resources. She in turn championed a bill to improve indigenous participation within the sector under her watch. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in an act of political will, then signed this bill into law, thereby leveling the playing field between international and indigenously owned oil companies. These events by default widened the doors for gender emergence and participation in the sector. And a number of women have indeed emerged.
The Winihin Jemide Series’ first Gender Emergence and Economic Development forum (GEED), explored the above with the theme “Policy and the Gender Agenda”, using the case study of women in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas sector as the learning platform. The one-day event provided a “safe gathering” for female stakeholders in various strategic sectors of the global economy to
share experiences and brainstorm the impetus to further enhance the participation of women in economic development.