To commemorate 2024’s International Women’s Day, Sterling One Foundation, in partnership with the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) and other crucial stakeholders, convened for the 10th annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality/Closing Gong ceremony hosted at the Nigerian Exchange Group on March 8.

In line with this year’s theme, “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,” stakeholders convened to address the multifaceted challenges hindering Nigerian women from realising their full potential while spotlighting existing opportunities for women to grow and thrive.


The speakers agreed on the urgent need to bridge the gender gap in Nigeria by advocating for increased inclusion of women in C-Suite positions, fostering investment in women-led enterprises, bolstering capacity-building initiatives, and offering strategic support to female trailblazers across various sectors. Furthermore, the discourse also emphasised the significance of reshaping the narrative of Nigerian women’s involvement in the arts and entertainment industries.


Mrs Olapeju Ibekwe, CEO of Sterling One Foundation and a notable partner of the Exchange Group for the event, emphasised the importance of partnerships to accelerate progress for women, which is a pivotal element of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17. According to her, the Sterling One Foundation has launched the Africa Social Impact Summit (ASIS), a global platform convening leaders from diverse sectors to devise innovative and sustainable solutions to Africa’s developmental challenges. “The Africa Social Impact Summit provides an avenue for strategic partnerships to accelerate investment in women and directly track progress in other areas of social impact interventions. We have a $1.7 trillion gap in financing for women entrepreneurs today. It is not a feat that one organisation can achieve.  We need to leverage strategic collaborations to ensure notable progress and bring stakeholders together to partner on and scale projects and initiatives that deliver results,” she said.

Dr Irene Robinson-Ayanwale, Divisional Head of Business Support Services/General Counsel of Nigerian Exchange Limited, stressed that Gender Equality is not merely a buzzword but an ethos driving exponential growth within the Nigerian capital market and the broader economy.

Closing the gender gap is critical as it stands in the way of attaining SDG 5 (Gender Equality) by 2030, according to Oluwasoromidayo George, Chair of the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria Board. “Despite understanding the compelling business case for gender equality, progress on women’s rights remains stagnant. We acknowledge the pivotal role of the private sector in driving gender equality forward,” she remarked.


The United Nations (UN) estimates that the gender pay gap costs the global economy USD 160 trillion per year. Addressing the gender pay gap will remove barriers that place women at a disadvantage, unlocking significant opportunities for advancement across the SDGs.


The event featured other esteemed speakers, including Olubukanla Rufai, Director, Lagos Zone, Securities and Exchange Commission; Yemisi Ayeni, Chairperson of NASCON Allied Industries Plc; Bolanle Austen-Peters, Founder and Creative Director of Terra Kulture; Lilian Olubor, Director of NGX Regulation Limited; Angela Muruli, Gender Project Expert, UN Women; Nollywood actress and co-CEO, Lufodo Productions; Joke Silva (MFR); and other distinguished speakers.


The 10th annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality/Closing Gong ceremony catalysed meaningful dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders committed to investing in women to drive transformative progress in Nigeria and across Africa.

About Sterling One Foundation

Sterling One Foundation (SOF) is a registered non-profit dedicated to addressing the root causes of poverty in Nigeria and Africa through interventions and social impact programmes in five critical areas: climate action, health, education and youth development, gender equality and empowerment, and food security. The Foundation’s programmes adopt the central theme of prioritising partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

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