As the world celebrates the 2020 International Women's Day on March 8, there will be enormous conversations around women empowerment, and gender equality. Aligned with the United Nations Women's multigenerational campaign, this year's International Women’s Day is themed" I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights".
Beyond the usual clamour for more job, health, education and political opportunity for the female gender, there will also be an evaluation of effort being made to take the issue from the prism of mere talk to the realm of actualisation. How are companies and captains of industries pushing women empowerment and gender equality with initiatives and management policies?
Looking at the E-commerce space, though a relatively new segment on the continent, Africa's e-commerce unicorn, Jumia has continued to display its commitment to empowerment and career growth of women in its business spread across the continent.
The Jumia brand has a strategic alliance with Women In Africa (WIA) which provides an opportunity for women to be a voice for change by calling for a stronger presence of women in public leadership positions. The “talks”, the “masterclasses”, and the B2B meetings by WIA are ways to connect women with each other to facilitate their growth and development.
“One of the ways to tackle poverty is women empowerment. It is estimated that 40% of Nigerian women are entrepreneurs. And Jumia as an e-commerce platform is committed to the growth of Nigerian and African women in the space where we work in.
Through our partnerships, training and capacity building programmes, we’ve been able to impact female entrepreneurs by providing an affordable platform that enables them to reach a wider market audience. Today, about 50% of our sellers are women,” said Jumia Nigeria Chairwoman, Juliet Anammah.
Jumia has also been serving as a facilitator and enabler for women, especially fashion entrepreneurs. The online store serves as a veritable platform to showcase their designs and products to a wider audience, eliciting sales and growth of their enterprises. To achieve this, Jumia connects fashion entrepreneurs with acquisition managers who work with them to launch their fashion brands on Jumia platform, which is regarded as the foremost online fashion destination in Nigeria.
As part of efforts to empower more women in Nigeria especially entrepreneurs, Jumia recently partnered with Facebook to empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by offering them a free master class on business growth accelerators, effective customer engagement strategy, and how to advertise their businesses and ultimately grow their businesses.
In addition to the brand’s initiative to bridge the unemployment gap, Jumia launched its ‘Women & Youth Empowerment’ pilot programme in Yaba, Lagos in June 2019. The programme is aimed at providing training and support to young women who are looking to expand their sources of income and also empower women through e-commerce.
While Jumia is leading the initiative on the e-commerce front, there is a need for more women-focused initiatives by industry leaders across all sectors of the economy; if Nigeria is to achieve the global aim of women empowerment and equal opportunity.