Gone are the days when the regular saying ‘Its a man’s world’ sit well amongst people anymore.
Women are gradually breaking stereotypes and daring to also explore the business world dominated by men.
Have you ever imagined an alternate universe where women dominate heavy-duty truck driving while men are in high demand as top-notch babysitters? A world where male nurses earn accolades for their exceptional care and women thrive as electricians?
Our reality may not be close to this but a few women are beginning to change the narrative.
It is great to see that women in their numbers are also offering services in sectors that used to be exclusively reserved for men. This not only makes them feel some attraction but also encourages other women to toe the same line.
Here are seven key sectors where women in Nigeria are thriving and making a difference
It is common to have people misconstrue the Tech industry as a very difficult pathway to delve into, hence the general notion that the tech industry is for the male gender more than the female.
However, there are amazing Nigerian women who beyond specializing in the tech industry, have also worked all the way to the top getting better as the industry grows
While there seems to be a bias in the proportion of males against females in this industry, the story is gradually changing, and we are here to ensure that the turnaround is complete.
A few women toping the charts in the tech industry include Aniekan Inyang, Adora Nwodo, Ibukun Akinnawo, Honey Ogundeyi, Yanmo Omorogbe and Abiola Eniola Amin. From Microsoft to Kuda bank, to tech start-ups, Bamboo, Flutterwave, these women are leading in decision making.
Women’s participation in trade is growing worldwide, although at a low level of competitiveness.
Despite some growth bottlenecks, Nigerian women comprise 41 percent of micro-business owners, according to Southern voice.org. There are around 23 million female entrepreneurs versus 33 million male counterparts.
Most women work in trade due to insufficient formal employment opportunities and training and to create extra income for the household. However, they lack access to the international market. According to a Nigerian International Trade Centre (ITC) survey, less than five percent of 394 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) participate in export activities. But 40 percent of the enterprises indicated interest to engage in export activities.
According to a recent survey by the World Bank (WB), Nigeria has one of the highest women entrepreneurship rates globally. Yet, it is often classified as “low-level” entrepreneurship, as they are primarily involved in informal trade, with minimum revenue. Likewise, their involvement in trade unionism is on the decline in Nigeria. Their low participation in unionism means that their voices go unheard in trade.
In Alaba, Trade Fare and Balogun markets, women are owners of shops and are seen in almost all locations trading in items that men also trade in.
Also worthy of mention is the Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), which has, over the last 21 years, implemented programs for greater representation of women in leadership positions in the public and private sector. WIMBIZ has an impressive contributory associate pool of over 1,350 accomplished women in management, business and public service and over 22,267 women in its records, and partners with credible domestic and international global organizations to deliver programs, which have influenced over 284,771 women.
There is a noticeable influx of female commercial drivers and even ‘conductors’ in Nigeria, especially in Lagos State.
The transport sector is experiencing a huge overhaul with the influx of ‘Keke’ and the minibus (korope) as the most common means of movement with women also competing in this space.
Sometime in 2016, a young Nigerian woman, Damilola Olokesusi sat down to think about how to make transportation one less thing to worry about for corporate workers in Lagos. The thinking manifested in Shuttlers, a technology-driven transportation start-up which eventually launched in 2017.
Since then, through its ridesharing platform, Shuttlers has been providing companies with better mobility options for their employees.
Now that seed planted in 2017 to solve the transportation issues in a popular African commercial city with most complicated traffic situation has become a model to lead Africa’s smart city project, just as much it is becoming the face of Africa’s women-led digital businesses.
The Lady Mechanic Professional Driver Training (LPD), is a professional driving course for girls/women. The practical/comprehensive driving training programme empowers girls/ women with needed skills and competencies so as to be able to get a driving job; be it with LAMATA, LAGBUS, Airport Shuttles, LAWMA, drivers for multinational organisations, government agencies and parastatals, and private businesses or individual.
Women play an essential role in Nigeria’s construction industry, which has traditionally been male-dominated. Women participate in various areas, from manual labor to management roles such as architects, engineers, and project managers.
Their contribution is significant as they bring diversity to the industry and provide new perspectives and ideas.
Despite this, women in the industry face several challenges such as limited access to funding, discrimination, and societal expectations.
However, several initiatives, including the Nigerian Institute of Architects’ Women in Architecture, are promoting diversity and inclusion in the industry.
Women in Nigeria’s construction industry are gradually taking up various positions, including engineering, architecture, building and construction, project management, and construction supervision.
These areas were considered strictly for men in the past, making the influx of women and their acceptance in the industry remarkably significant.
Abimbola Windapo, Olajumoke Adenowo, Tosin Oshinowo, Olayinka Ogunsulire and Torkwase Iyortyer amongst several others continue are
Outstanding women adding value to the Nigerian construction industry.
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction:
The mining industry has continued to be male dominated but in recent times, more women have shown interest in the sector and have continued to make their impact.
A testament to the growing number of Women in this sector is the presence of Women in Mining in Nigeria (WIMIN), a non-governmental organization focused on women’s advancement in the Nigerian mineral, exploration and mining sector.
WIMIN carries out its programmes through research, capacity building, advocacy and campaigns built on the principles of partnership and rights-based approach. It is an umbrella organization driving women empowerment and economic development processes, which tends to gender issues and women inclusion in the sector.
WIMINs focus is on addressing gender equality, governance, and policy dialogue as cross-cutting issues in the mining sector. WIMIN’s worldwide acceptance is anchored on equity and protection of the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and children from the grievous consequences of artisanal mining.
With membership strength of about 1500, WIMIN is posed to engage in a combination of mining activities, ranging from collection, trading and financing of gemstone production to working on metallic ores and tin sheds, as well as, multi-disciplinary professional service deliveries in geology, engineering, law, accounting, insurance etc.
One of the top female entrepreneurs in Nigeria is Sandra Aguebor, the first female mechanic in Nigeria.
Aguebor’s admirable journey dates back to the early 80s. Her love for cars developed while she was a child and Face2Face Africa even reported a dream she had at 13, where Jesus Christ was teaching her how to fix cars. Despite protests from her father, Aguebor was determined to pursue her passion.
Her own story has been so inspirational, she created the Lady Mechanic Initiative, a program dedicated to teaching women financial independence through repair training. This training has seen the emergence of more lady mechanics in Nigeria.
According to Black Enterprise, classes in the program consist of hands-on training and a detailed curriculum that focuses on electrician training, professional driving, generator repairs, speedboat repairs, and house plumbing to help empower women.
Many Nigerians have kept singing the praising of three Nigerian sisters who broke the record to become pilots with different airlines and helicopter companies.
These three sisters have sent message of hope, resilience and I-can-do-it spirit to the minds of several female Nigerians with aspirations to pursue their dreams.
The emergence of female pilots, Oluwafunmilayo, Oluwaseun & Mopelola Makinde took after their Dad and became pilots just like him.
Hailing from Nigeria, these three sisters have not only shattered stereotypes but have also soared to great heights in their careers as pilots.
Over the past ten years, the number of women successfully gaining their ways into the cockpit around the world, and in Nigeria too, is encouraging. This can be attributed to the fact that the factors that had hindered ladies into the cockpit have been completely eliminated with modern day science and greater awareness in the society.
With hydraulic system enhancement and computerisation of flight controls, flying no longer requires so much of physical human power; you now need more articulate and multitasking minds to excel in the modern day cockpit.
In the hierarchy of attributes required to fly an aircraft in our modern world, male special attributes like higher physical strength now occupies nowhere; conversely, multitasking ability which is regarded to be found more in women is in the upper echelon of the hierarchy.
Ladies are also considered to have less societal pressure and are naturally endowed to be much calmer; these also occupy a higher space in the hierarchy of attributes.
Human intelligence which sits atop all the attributes is shared equally by both gender. Therefore, male pilots can no longer, realistically, be said to have better chances to cockpit in the modern time aviation world.