International Women's Day 2024

Celebrating Women: Unveiling Nigeria’s Female Trailblazers

Honouring International Women’s Day isn’t just about acknowledging achievements—it’s about celebrating the unique journeys and inspiring stories of remarkable women shaping our world. On that note, we turn our focus to Nigeria, highlighting 10 incredible women who have defied stereotypes and shattered glass ceilings in the business world.

1. Folorunsho Alakija: Beyond a Degree

From secretary to oil tycoon, Folorunsho’s story is a testament to resilience. Despite lacking a university degree, she built a fashion empire and ventured into the male-dominated oil industry, as the CEO of Famfa Oil, becoming Nigeria’s richest woman.

2. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Economist & Changemaker

With degrees from prestigious institutions and years at the World Bank, Ngozi served as Nigeria’s finance minister, battling corruption and driving economic reforms. Now, she leads the World Trade Organization (WTO) shaping global trade.

3. Ibukun Awosika: Breaking Barriers in Business

Ibukun started young, defying societal norms to build a furniture company, The Chair Centre Group, that became a leading industry player. She later became the first woman to chair First Bank of Nigeria, demonstrating her exceptional leadership.

4. Hajiya Bola Shagaya: A Multifaceted Powerhouse

From photo labs to real estate, Hajiya has built a diverse business empire, Bolmus Group International. Her shrewd instincts and contributions to the oil & gas sector have earned her recognition and respect, inspiring aspiring entrepreneurs

5. Mosunmola Abudu: From HR to Media Mogul

Mo’s journey showcases the power of passion. Leaving behind a successful HR career, she followed her dream to establish EbonyLife TV, becoming a media extraordinaire and a beacon for aspiring African storytellers.

6. Uju Ifejika: Leading from the Ground Up

Starting from a junior counsel position, Uju climbed the corporate ladder in the oil & gas industry before venturing out to establish the Brittania-U Group. Her leadership now spans exploration, production, and distribution, proving her mettle in a challenging sector.

7. Funmi Iyanda: Media Maverick with a Voice

Funmi’s passion for media shines through her award-winning documentaries and shows like “Talk with Funmi.” A leading personality and media entrepreneur, she empowers aspiring creators and advocates for critical discourse.

8. Ndidi Nwuneli: Investing in the Future

Ndidi’s vision extends beyond personal success. Through her non-profit organizations like Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability & Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, and Ndu Ike Akunuba (NIA), Igbo words which translate in English to Life, Strength, and Wealth, she empowers and equips young Africans, fostering entrepreneurship and leadership skills for a brighter future.

9. Funke Opeke: Building Bridges in Telecoms

Funke Opeke, a trailblazer in Nigerian tech, is the founder and CEO of MainOne, a leading communications services and network solutions provider. After a successful career with international telecom giants like Verizon, she returned to Nigeria to bridge the country’s connectivity gap. She spearheaded the construction of MainOne’s $240 million undersea high-capacity cable, the first privately owned of its kind in West Africa. This critical infrastructure has transformed business and communication across the region.

10. Tara Fela-Durotoye: Beauty with a Purpose

Tara’s story defies expectations. She turned her passion for makeup into a thriving business, “House of Tara,” paving the way for the beauty industry in Nigeria and inspiring countless young women entrepreneurs.

These 10 remarkable women are just a glimpse into the vast pool of Nigerian female talent. Their stories inspire us to dream big, work hard, and break down barriers. Let’s celebrate them and pave the way for future generations of female leaders to redefine success and shape a brighter tomorrow.

Written by Leelee Christian