The Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Ms Evelyn Oputu, has said that the bank will initiate an empowerment programme that will address the "bottom pyramid of the society" especially gender issues.
She made the remark in Abuja while presiding over the private sector interactive session with Madam Michelle Bachelete, United Nations Women Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director.
"We are going to have a programme that will address the bottom pyramid of the society in terms of empowerment and we are taking into consideration specifically the gender issue because gender issue is not only about being given equal opportunity but how the society is responding to basic things that surround women," she said.
She said that women empowerment is vital to economic development, adding that women should not be handicapped because "handicapping them is to handicap oneself."
She said that the gender issue is very important and has been taken to the forefront when she assumed office in 2005, noting that before then, women empowerment and finance is always relegated to the background.
Ms Evelyn Oputu said the paradigm shift on women empowerment was introduced to take care of women because "most banks were not lending or granting loans to them due to reason best known to them."
Speaking, United Nations Women Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, Madam Michelle Bachelete, called for equal opportunities and participation for women in Nigeria, adding that women empowerment could trigger economic growth in the country.
She noted that women had the tendency to get to the higher level when given the opportunity and become a potential factor in the economy and called on corporate organizations to find ways of impacting in the lives of the women through capacity building.