Being a Nigerian woman is a mix of different emotions. In some ways, our history continues to be written. We are on a journey. A journey to find ourselves, to gain relevance, to have our voices heard and to raise young girls who can stand in this world that constantly finds new and ingenious ways to tear them down.
That is why it continues to be important that we discuss our perspectives as Nigerian women. That we create our own narratives and spaces to be heard instead of letting others define us and tell us who we are. In speaking with the women featured in this campaign, I learnt an important lesson. That being a Nigerian woman is synonymous with strength and capacity. Gone are the negative perceptions and challenges which try to control us, Nigerian women are fiercely fighting for their opportunities and winning. Our strength is being expressed in various iterations from entrepreneurship and career goals to nurturer, role model and mentorship roles we play daily. Nigerian women are no longer just struggling to survive, we are taking charge.
In this new campaign by Inspired by Glory, we speak to 15 women who share their perspectives and journeys on what it means to be a Nigerian woman. Join the campaign by sharing your perspective of being a Nigerian woman.
Temie Giwa- Founder Life Bank
Being a Nigerian woman is a great pleasure and sometimes a pain, but mostly amazing. I love everything about our different cultures, our languages and the food, oh the delicious mouth watering, and awesome food. I also believe the Nigerian people have the biggest hearts, trust me. Everyday, I am amazed by the everyday people who decide to give blood on lifebank.ng free of charge and out of the goodness of their heart. It’s amazing and I am so proud and honoured to be a Nigerian woman.
Cynthia Odebeli- Talk Show Host
From generation to generation, Nigerian women have proven nothing short of excellence and strength. We are a strong bunch, resilient, constantly pushing ourselves and if married our spouses too. A Nigerian woman can never be relegated to the background, she holds her own anywhere in the world.
Every Nigerian woman has a story to tell, I mean the real ugly tales of woes experienced; but when you look at her you’re wondering where all that pain went as she’s still standing tall on her Louboutins, Asos pair or bathroom slippers, it really doesn’t matter as her confidence is not limited to her social class or strata, if you doubt me ask Olajumoke Orisaguna!
Tomi Kolawole: Founder Ezra Pearl Online
Being a Nigerian Woman means being a Strong woman- strong spiritually, strong at work, strong socially and strong in your home. It means breaking barriers. Because you are a woman means you can have it ALL!!!
Yes! The dream career, the worthy husband, the happy family, why? Because God has given us capacity!!
Olushola Pacheco: Founder Whoot Africa
Being a Nigerian woman means courage, undeniable gutsiness, being extraordinary, and just going out to be a phenomenal achiever. The system is already designed to be against us, without it being said we are expected to play small, fit in the box and be achievers as long as we don’t break the traditional barriers of expectations of what and how we are to be seen. Being a Nigerian woman reminds me of the peacock, beautifully unapologetic and not afraid to show off its magnificence. We are a rare breed and a wonder to our world.
Berry Dakara: Lifestyle Blogger
Being a Nigerian woman is interesting. We are brought up to believe that life begins after marriage. Too many young girls are growing up with the mentality that everything they do must revolve around the end goal of marriage and motherhood. We’re sent to university but when you’re working, try not to appear too independent otherwise we’ll never get married. I wanted to live on my own for a little while, but was firmly told that I couldn’t. That in our culture, a girl/woman goes from her father’s house to her husband’s house, unless you live in a different country without family or family friends to stay with. I begged and pleaded and cried and threatened, because it was always my dream to live on my own for at least six months. But my parents stood by their outlook, supported by my then-boyfriend who I went on to marry. I think that as Nigerian women, it is an important step in fostering independence, ownership, and responsibility. A lot of girls think that they cannot provide for themselves, and need a man to live. But it’s so untrue. I’m happy at the rising numbers of Nigerian female entrepreneurs who are making names for themselves, building formidable brands, and even creating job opportunities for others. I’m a Nigerian woman who believed that my life and happiness wasn’t dependent on having a boyfriend or husband
Omilola Oshikoya; Wealth Coach
I love my country. I am passionate about Nigeria and would do all that I can do make it a great nation. I say nation because I’m particular about the people as opposed to the geography or topography. Nigeria is not an easy place to live in however, I can’t see myself living in any other country. Despite the tough living conditions, Nigerian women continue to thrive, succeed and flourish in different areas of their lives such as family, career, community etc. The tough conditions are just what you need to build muscles for greatness. A Nigerian woman is like a rose growing out of concrete. We are strong, resilient, hardworking, kind, resourceful, fashionable amongst many other things. We are the Proverbs 31 woman
Wana Udobang: Cultural Entrepreneur
I’m not sure it’s one of those experiences I can comprehensively articulate. I know I certainly enjoy the experience of being a woman, I enjoy it’s complications and complexities. I mostly enjoy the daily unravelling of myself. But isn’t that just being a human being anyway. Now being a Nigerian woman is a whole other story of cultural expectations and nuances that I think adds another complex layer to my womanhood that I reckon I can sometimes do without. So I suppose being a Nigerian woman for me has been about navigating all these labyrinth of complexities which has always made life rather interesting.
The Nigerian woman is a mother and represents the hope of generations yet unborn, gracefully clad in her native attire, she stands tall among equals.
The Nigerian woman is a survivor
Isioma Coker: Human Resource Professional
I am a Nigerian woman, a title that I am sometimes proud to have, and at other times ashamed to be associated with. As a Nigerian woman, I am proud of our heritage, proud of our culture, proud of our history as trail blazers, our entrepreneurial spirit, our loving nature, the list goes on. But in the same breath, as a Nigerian woman, I feel ashamed that I am still forced to deal with a country where my rights are overlooked for those of my male counterparts, where the blame culture is strong when it comes to rape and abuse, where I have to work twice as hard to be recognised for my achievements and where my personal achievements are second guessed just because of my gender.
As a Nigerian woman however, I have a sense of purpose and responsibility. I am a citizen of the most populous country in Africa and if I can help to get gender equality right here, I help create a ripple effect for the rest of the continent. So I leverage on the strengths of those who started the journey and add my voice to those who are moving it along because we can and we will change the story of being.
Sandra Obiago: Photographer, Poet, Art Collector & Curator, and Award Winning Filmmaker
I have always felt incredibly proud to be a Nigerian woman and privileged to stand on the shoulders of generations of strong Amazon women. My great-grandmother was a market trader who was the quintessential Proverbs 31 kind of woman. She was an entrepreneur and a matriarch. I have been told when she came home from the market, she always brought a little something special for everyone in the household. I have learned that it is possible to have a family and a thriving career from strong Nigerian women. I think Nigerian women are some of the most enterprising women in the world. Nigerian women are also some of the most fashionable and best “packaged” women in the world. From the farmer, to the market trader to the head of corporations – Nigerian women know how to dress up and stand up, despite the hardships they often face. From our flamboyant head scarves, to the way we swing our hips to good music – Nigerian women express their joy, their femininity, their identity, and their strength with a quintessential Nigerian swagger that is unbeatable
Princess Abumere; Journalist
Being a Nigerian woman is about being original and standing out. As such, I am self reliant, strong and determined. If you decide to objectify me because of my femininity, then look at me as an embodiment of greatness and intelligence.
Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju: Award Winning Actress
Being female in Nigeria means I get to play my part in projecting the strong, creative, hardworking and enterprising woman to the rest of the world. By being a Nigerian woman, I take pride in the legacy of other Nigerian women who refused to be ordinary
Debbie Akwara: Customer Experience Management Expert
Being a Nigerian woman means I have a right to be successful because I can weather any storm. It’s like I have been given a pen to write history well spiced with challenges, opportunities, hardships, love, limitations and yet there’s always something to learn and plenty of room for improvement and growth. Priceless!
Toyin Awesu: Marketing and Communications Expert
Being a Nigerian woman is truly a one of a kind feeling. In my case, even though I was born and raised in the US, there was never a period in my life where I didn’t know I was a Nigerian woman. My mother and aunties ensured the culture, values, and expectations were instilled in me despite my American environment. As a Nigerian woman, we embrace all of the feminine qualities of being a woman but with a unique
flavor. She is elegant, fashionable, humble, respected, colourful, resilient, cultured, educated, entrepreneurial, sharp, and just an overall interesting woman to be. I am proud to be a Nigerian woman and wouldn’t trade it for any other culture in the world.
Being Nigerian is often depicted poorly. People expect Nigerians to be feisty, to own a voice…and use it often. Personally, the expectation is freeing. Some hope that as Nigerian women, we won’t use our voice yet fear that we might.n I’ve never been one to let people down. * wink *
Enimielen Etomi Inegbedion: Photographer
Being a Nigerian woman brings strength to mind! Between our parents giving us the same education as the men and telling us we can achieve. Any goal we set for ourselves, our teachers and professors expecting excellence through our learning years, the media selling beauty and perfection, only to be faced with all sorts of views, more often a very traditional view as to how a woman is supposed to conduct herself, get married, run her home….it’s actually impossible to not be strong. I find that culture and religion have a lot to play in the place women have in the Nigerian society but many women are breaking out of the mould and are living life fully and abundantly without worrying about the stereotypes placed on women that are still prevalent in the society. Nigeria is full of energy and passion and as a woman in Nigeria it’s difficult not to tap into it. I respect all the women who have pioneered change and have empowered and fought for the rights of women and I pray God uses me to change even one person’s life for good. Let us empower the next generation by supporting one another and fulfilling what we have been called to do on this earth to the best of our abilities.