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Women discuss balancing roles at MBFC

A black woman entrepreneur

Contrary to the popular African belief that the role of a woman is restricted to kitchen activities and child rearing, Pauline Rumm, CEO and publisher, Motherhood In-Style Magazine, recently organised Mums in Business Fair and Conference’ (MBFC) at the Kings College Annex, Victoria Island, to show that women have more roles to play in the society.

The two-day SME Exhibition was fashioned for Nigerian mothers to learn, exhibit, sell, network and shop, with nanny and children catering centres to care for the children while their mothers participate in the various sections of the event.

According to Rumm during the conference section, the platform was originally created on the basis of family concerns, but observed that most Nigerian mums are working-class and businesswomen who struggle day-to-day to strike a balance between their role as a wife, mum and the personal satisfaction of being financially independent, hence the need for MBFC.

“Statistics have it that one-in-three small-scale business owners are mums and this is a huge impact on the Nigerian economy” she said.

MBFC keynote speaker, Adenike Ogunlesi, CEO of ‘Ruff ‘N’ Tumble’ said Nigerian women are hardworking and brave personalities who should refuse to be limited in any way whatsoever to become a transformational woman.

“I started Ruff ‘N’ Tumble 20years ago from the boot of my car to prove that as a Nigerian woman, I can attain the height of excellence and I did.

“I empowered myself because I have knowledge which helped me take conscious control of my own life and dreams,” she said.

She stated that every woman should prioritise herself by ensuring she comes first in everything, because everything begins with her, whilst rejecting labeled societal limitations, as the role of motherhood is a huge responsibility that can only be upheld by a woman of capability.

“As a woman, I chose me first, though cultural and societal conditions says I am selfish, self-absorbed and only think only about myself, but I have learned that nothing is more important than my humanity.

“I am first a human being created in the image and likeness of an awesome God who have made me co-creator of my life and everything I chose to do with my life.

“Every woman must fight cultural limitations by getting together without holding each other down to stop women’s limitation in the society” she said.

She added that raising children is a shared responsibility between a husband and wife, hence the need to help each other, and make each other feel safe by magnifying their strength and diminishing the weakness.

Also speaking at the conference was Chinwe Kalu, who said mothers should not compromise raising their children to become responsible, for business or career ambitions.

“Women should stay organised and get their priorities right with God factor” she said.

Abimbola Akeredolu (SAN) said that in every profession or business, women must pay their dues with building process and experience, because there is time for everything. “There is need for mothers to manage their role as wives, mums and business or career responsibility appropriately.”

“You should never be too proud or too big to learn something new, and stay clear from comparison with other women because every truly successful business or career woman had a humble beginning” she said.

Helen Ajayi, former Miss Nigeria (1979), also said being a beauty queen is not a career but an empowerment platform for women to build a chosen career.

“A woman can have it all, but not all at the same time, hence the need to tread wisely in motherhood and career or business building” she said.

Speaking to The Guardian, Mary Ewere, an exhibitor at the MBFC, said it is very difficult to be a mum and a businesswoman at the same time. “I can tell you that first hand, I have not seen my kids in 10 hours or so.

“Though I slept under the same roof with them, but I was up this morning before they woke up, and as at the time I got home last night they were asleep.

“So it is not easy at all for mums in business, but the legacy is for my kids as I am working for them, however, I still take time out to be with my family” she said.

She added that being a wife and mother is a huge task, however, its helps to marry a supportive man who shares your dream. “My husband supports my dreams, he knows it is what I want, and I am passionate about it, so he helps me by all means possible”.

Tosin Erikitola, a banker and entrepreneur, revealed that it is challenging to be an active player of these roles, as she does a nine-to- five everyday, hence the need to source for help.

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