Can we meet you?
My name is Adebimpe Ihekuna, Head banking product First Bank, the product engine for the bank
When did you start your career?
I have been in the Banking Industry for the past ten years.
Were you married when you joined Banking?
No, I started as a single woman and after two years, I got married.
What is the difference between you being a banker as a single woman and after you got married?
Getting married is good especially when you are happy in the marriage and when you are sure you are married to your partner. It is important to get married to your partner, your friend, your confidant. Marriage is a good thing I will say and every woman should look forward to it, you should not rush into marriage all in the name of marriage because you will then regret it at the end of the day where your spouse is not your friend.
It is important, your spouse must be your friend, and he or she must be someone that makes you laugh, someone that you look forward to meeting at the end of the day’s activities.
How do you manage Parenting and Career?
Parenting and career is not an easy thing but it is easy when you make a conscious effort to make it work. The problem is that most times, people (both men and women) are not consciously aware that the way they make their career work, they also have to make their marriage work.
Most marriages are taken for granted, it is important for spouses to consider the circumstances of each other. If one is a career person who has no time for the children it doesn’t matter who it is whether the man or the woman. It is important for them to give time for their children. It’s when you have abandoned your family in pursuit of a career, you then have a problem.
The key word is, make your marriage work as much as you are making your career work, which is why I said earlier on, that it is important to marry your friend, someone who is very understanding.
Do you make use of support systems like housemaids?
Yes, I do.
How do you get the right ones?
It is not easy. It is a project I would really like to work on because I see a lot of gaps; I see that it’s an area we need to look into. Whether we like it or not, it is a system that we need to come up with a framework on how it works.
Due to the level of decadence in Nigeria, we talk about corruption most of the time and we do think it is just within the political space, No, corruption is everywhere. In those days when we were growing up, we hear about how house helps, domestic workers help families to take care of their homes, their children when the father or mother or the both of them are out there working to keep the family going. These days, it is a problem because people no longer want to work, most of the house helps are not there to work, they don’t see themselves as support for the family, they don’t appreciate what they will earn, they get into the family and they want to be like the madam or the ‘oga’ from day one.
The society too is getting it wrong; there are a lot of talks about treating house helps well, yes, It is important to treat house helps well but no one is looking at training these house helps to know that they are there to support, to push their responsibilities back to them.
Most girls go into homes to destroy them so it is important for us to establish a frame working system where people like that can be trained and re-oriented. Such that they know their purpose and can look forward to becoming something. They can work together with their employer to say, for example, I want to work for three years, they sign a contract and I want to earn XYZ and this is what I want to do, I want to learn fashion and so on.
Yes, there are people who are taking care of their house helps. The issue is getting one that is very good and I think no one is making a deliberate effort to be responsible for that and we really need to be. We are talking about women being empowered, women being more productive, women contributing to the economic growth of the nation. We then, need to see what are the support systems that women need?