In a world where the non-stop news cycle continuously churns out one negative news story after another, it is important to reflect on positive developments such as Amina Oyagbola and WISCAR (Women in Successful Careers) success as a change agent in Africa.
Founded in 2008 by philanthropist and global business leader Amina Oyagbola and inspired by Africa Leadership Initiative West Africa (ALIWA), WISCAR is an internationally-renowned non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering, developing, and supporting entry and mid-level professional women in Nigeria and across Africa through a structured mentoring program that provides strategic career advice, inspirational guidance, and ongoing support.
Amina Oyagbola explains that WISCAR does so much more than equip emerging professional women to achieve their full potential through empowerment. WISCAR partners visionary change agents who serves as role models — both in the corporate world and in their communities — with other like-minded professionals of both genders who view gender equity and inclusivity in the workplace as a top priority.
WISCAR’s critical work is in alignment with advice from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which in its most recent review of Nigeria’s economy noted that enabling gender equality in the country would be nothing short of an “economic game changer” that would lead to substantially higher growth and productivity, and improve economic stability. In fact, the review’s co-author Monique Newiak estimates that a meaningful reduction in gender inequality would boost Nigeria’s economic output by a whopping 1–1.25 percent each year.
Amina Oyagbola stated “Our goal is to develop women, so that we can build a stronger Africa that is equipped and energized to shape and influence a world where gender inequality in the workplace and community is an unacceptable part of our historical past, instead of a pressing reality in our day-to-day present”.
While the road to gender equality is bumpy — after all, the challenges and obstacles that Amina Oyagbola and WISCAR are striving to overcome are deeply systemic, and stem back generations — it is evident that the work Amina Oyagbola and her colleagues are doing is having a tremendously positive impact. The organization has trained more than 300 women through its WIN-with-WISCAR program, and over 6000 women and men have been educated and impacted through its workshops and conferences.
In addition, WISCAR’s 10th anniversary celebration last year was attended by several notable leaders, including Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State (representing the Governor of Lagos State); Dr. Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLcom Capital and former Minister of Communication; Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director at Shell, Nigeria; and Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, the noted feminist activist, writer and policy advocate.