Nigerian Women Who Have Made History
Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. “BREAK THE BIAS” is the theme for International Women’s Day, a day celebrated annually to mark the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women to raise awareness of discrimination and bias; to inspire and empower us all to take action for equality. This week, we pay homage to women who set the pace in their different sectors.
Okonjo-Iweala made history in March 2021 when she became the first woman and first Nigerian/ African to be appointed Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
Okonjo-Iweala is one of the few Black women who have given women representation on the biggest stages of global and national power. She twice served as Nigeria’s minister of finance, worked at the World Bank for more than 20 years, and served on the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. She took office on March 1, 2021, following a 9-month selection process.
In 2015, First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc. announced the appointment of Mrs. Ibukun Abiodun Awosika as its new board chairperson. this made her the first woman to assume this position since the establishment of First Bank of Nigeria in 1894. Awosika sits on the board of several companies among which are Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Digital Jewels Ltd, and Convention on Business Integrity. She is also the Chairman, Board of Trustees of Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ), as well as the Chairman of Intermac, the organisers of SmartCard Conference in Nigeria.
Nneka Ede, a Nigerian entrepreneur, and business mogul wrote her name in the history books after purchasing Portuguese football club, Lusitano Ginásio Clube, Futebol, SAD.
This deal automatically made her the first African woman to own a club in Europe. Nneka Ede who is a sports enthusiast, also has many business interests in the oil and gas sector. Nneka Ede is the second Nigerian to buy a Portuguese club after business mogul Kunle Soname bought Clube Desportivo Feirense in 2015.
Chioma Ajunwa is the first African woman, as well as the first Nigerian, to win an Olympic gold medal in a track and field event. She performed this historic feat on Friday, August 2, 1996. On that day, she jumped 7.12 metres at a long jump event in the 1996 Atlanta games.
Agbani Darego is a former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria best known as the first Nigerian and native Sub-Saharan African to win the Miss World pageant. She studied Psychology at New York University and graduated in 2012.
Asisat Lamina Oshoala
Asisat Oshoala is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Primera División club FC Barcelona Femení and captains the Nigerian women’s national team. She was the first Nigerian and African player to score a goal in a UEFA Women’s Champions League final and the first African woman to win the UEFA Champions League. In 2014, she was named best player and highest goal scorer at the FIFA U-20 tournament and Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2021.
Chinyere Kalu is the entire organisation. first Nigerian female commercial pilot and the first woman to fly an aircraft in Nigeria. She served as the rector and chief instructor of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology between October 2011 and February 2014.
Dr (OBE) Nneka Abulokwe
Nneka, a British-Nigerian tech and digital governance entrepreneur is the founder/CEO of MicroMax Consulting and one of the first Afro-Caribbean professionals in the UK to sit on the board of a top European digital transformation organisation. She is also one of the first black female professionals to sit on the board of a multinational tech company in the UK and has received many awards. Nneka was awarded Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to business.
Tara Fela Durotoye
Tara Fela Durotoye is a Nigerian makeup artist and lawyer. A pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria, she launched the first bridal directory in 1999, set up international standard makeup studios, and established the first makeup school in Nigeria. She is the founder and CEO of House of Tara International. In 2007, She was awarded the Africa SMME Award and the Entrepreneur award in South Africa, and in 2013, Forbes listed her as one of 20 Young Power Women In Africa.
Grace Alele-Williams is a professor of Mathematics Education. She obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1963, making her the first Nigerian woman to receive a doctorate. She became the first female to hold the office of Vice-Chancellor when she was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin in 1985. She became the first president of the African Mathematical Union Commission on Women in Mathematics.
She has also served in various committees, and boards and made contributions to the development of education in Nigeria.
Chief Folake Solanke, SAN, CON, is a Nigerian lawyer, administrator, and social critic. She is the first woman to join the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and the first Nigerian female lawyer to wear the silk gown as Senior Counsel. 38 years later, women make up only 4.2% of the entire organisation.
Miriam Olusanya became the latest on the list of women shattering the proverbial glass ceiling when she emerged as the first female MD/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) since the institution’s establishment in 1990. Her appointment earned her the accolade as the first female MD of the financial institution in its 31-year history. She succeeds Segun Agbaje.