Shecluded’s Initiative for women’s economic and financial empowerment.

Bola, a smart, confident and driven woman with a lot potentials had to suspend her career dreams a few years into her career to give maximum attention to raising her children. Ten years later, she’s decided it’s high time she returned to taking back the reigns of her career towards the future she’s always envisioned for herself. But one question often plagued her: Could she really pick up where she left off? Unfortunately, it’s been one exhausting year of several failed applications and interviews. She’s just discovered the usual routes to getting a job has changed. The routes once opened to her have closed and now she needs more flexible hours to spend time with her family. Her skills need an up-beat and many jobs now see her career hiatus as a fault. Some government and private labour policies also don’t help. What can women in Bola’s shoes do to, against the odds, fulfil their career dreams? There are other women who are necessarily not in Bola’s shoes. Others may be trying to regain their confidence.

Women all across the world, including Nigeria, juggle work, family, and caregiving duties. Early marriage and family formation play a critical role in women’s access to jobs and it is a more significant issue for young women from poorer households than others. Young women are much more likely to marry early and are therefore given to family life and childcare without yet achieving much for themselves. At age 20, less than 4% of men are married, compared to about 50% of women in rural areas. With early marriage comes early pregnancies and household responsibilities that effectively remove women from labour market opportunities.

45.5% of the Nigerian Labour Force is female (World Bank, 2019). A major contribution to this low turnout is the significant number of women who have had to take a career hiatus due to family or economic reasons. Returning to work after a long career break due to the nature’s demands or natural circumstances is one of the biggest challenges faced by women in Nigeria. Also more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce since the beginning of the pandemic according to the National Women’s Law Centre. The survey showed that women have been hit worst by the recession and epidemic. While many women have lost jobs as a result of the epidemic and the recession, others have chosen to leave the workforce to care for children or elderly relatives. Hence the Shecluded #Back2Work Initiative.

Shecluded’s #Back2Work initiative is a five-year plan to help 10,000 women who have taken a two-year or longer sabbatical from their occupations re-join the workforce. The goal is to inspire, equip and provide them with opportunities. This project will also influence companies and organizations towards incorporating returnship programmes into their systems.

This project is defined by 4 milestones:

  1. INSPIRE HER: The purpose of this phase is to cheer and support her in planning her return route. By the end of this stage she would have her “HIT MAP”.
  2. UPGRADE HER: She’ll be provided with a wide range of resources and courses to upgrade her knowledge and skill-set. By the end of this stage, she would have certified skills to re-enter the job market.
  3. GET HER STARTED: This will include career mentoring from industry professionals, as well as employability workshops and career advice. On completing this stage, she’s more equipped and informed about the job-market and job-search strategies. She’ll know how to ace an interview, negotiate a wage, and find the greatest position in her selected industry.
  4. NOW SHE’S BACK: This final block will focus on branding/rebranding her to showcase her skill, knowledge and experience for the job market. At the end, she will have an upgraded portfolio with professional headshots, an upgraded CV and LinkedIn profile. By 2025, this project would have contributed significantly to women’s financial and economic participation in Nigeria. Bola and 10,000 other talented women in her shoes would have been equipped and added to the workforce. Would you like to be a part of this project? Would you like to help bring this vision to reality through sponsorships, partnerships and volunteering?

We look forward to hearing from you!