• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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IWD: Here’re 10 women to watch out for in 2024

IWD: Here’re 10 women to watch out for in 2024

International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual global opportunity to reflect on women’s achievements, honour their courage, and recommit ourselves to a future where gender equality is not just an aspiration but an unwavering reality. It is that time of the year again when the world pauses to recognise and appreciate the valuable contributions of women.

With the theme Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress, the IWD 2024 continues the push for gender equality and increased representation of women in politics.

Their tireless efforts, creativity, and resilience have woven intricate threads into the fabric of society, propelling progress and shaping our shared destiny. From corporate leadership, pioneering scientists and visionary artists to compassionate caregivers and fierce advocates, women have left indelible imprints on every facet of human existence. As part of the celebration of the women who contribute so significantly to the sustenance of our society, here are 10 women to watch in 2024.

Bolaji Agbede

Bolaji Agbede was appointed the acting group chief executive officer (GCEO) of Access Holdings PLC following the tragic passing of Dr Herbert Wigwe, who occupied the position until his death. Agbede boasts a wealth of expertise in human resources management, customer relationship management, and banking operations, which has primed her for the role.

Her appointment is the culmination of an illustrious journey in the banking sector that has lasted nearly three decades. During that period, she championed gender equality and equity, introducing progressive initiatives, including paternity leave, six-month maternity leave, the Bank’s Crèche, and the Access Women Network. Certainly, she is one to look out for now that she has assumed the company’s foremost executive position.

Funke Akindele

Star actress, filmmaker, director, producer, and politician Funke Akindele needs no introduction. Popularly known as Jenifa, she has been a beacon in Nollywood in recent years. She recently became the first Nollywood director to gross over a billion naira at the Nigerian box office with her blockbuster A Tribe Called Judah.

The latest of her lofty feats, it surpassed her previous records with ‘Battle on Buka Street’ (N668.4 million) and ’Omo Ghetto’ (N636.1 million). Consequently, her films are now the first, second and third highest-grossing films in the Nigerian box office, with a combined total of over N2.9 billion. Akindele has come to be associated with creativity, excellence, and leadership, and we cannot but look forward to what she does next.

Bola Matel-Okoh

Attorney. Banker. Entrepreneur. Coach. Pastor. Podcaster. For 30 years, Bola Matel-Okoh has given expression to her many talents and passions in multiple industries, and our society has been better for it. As an attorney with expertise in judicial science, she participated in the final phase of a multi-billion insurance class action litigation. Beyond her legal prowess, she serves as a non-executive director of Wema Bank PLC and helms Havilah Ventures, a conglomerate spanning real estate, corporate branding, health, wellness, and beauty.

In 2023, she founded The Women’s Lifestyle Hub, a network uniting c-suite executive women dedicated to excelling in both personal and professional fields. The spotlight found her in 2023, with accolades and recognitions marking a transformative year. As we look to 2024 and beyond, anticipation builds for the next chapter in Matel-Okoh’s illustrious journey.

⁠Juliet Ehimuan

As a tech executive, it can be difficult to imagine life after a 12-year tenure at Google. But Juliet Ehimuan has been making mincemeat of it. Since she stepped down from her role as Director at Google West Africa in 2023, she has expanded her empowerment initiative Beyond Limits into a pan-African organisation driving digital transformation.

Through the company, she has launched an African founders’ mentorship programme, which offered up to N10 million in grants, and hosted the inaugural tech ecosystem mixer DICE, which brought together over 250 leaders from technology and creative industries across Africa.

She has also featured severally on different media platforms as she continues to drive conversations about developing Africa through digital transformation. It certainly does not look like she will relent anytime soon. And with her recent appointment as a founding board member of the IMD Switzerland Board Community, we’re eager to see the entrepreneurial strides Ehimuan will make after leaving the comforts of tech behemoth Google.

Ireti Kingibe

Ireti Heebah Kingibe is currently serving her first term as a Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Senatorial District in the 10th National Assembly. To earn that seat, she defeated long-term senator Philip Aduda, who had occupied the seat for 12 years, to become the city’s first female senator in 20 years.

In a move practically unheard of in Nigeria, Kingibe has pledged her salary to an emergency fund to support some of her policies, which are focused on redistributing wealth in the city and its poor rural environs. As one of only three women in the current senate, Kingibe bears the torch for ensuring gender inclusivity for development, and we can’t wait to see what she does next!

Aisha Augie

Aisha Augie is a Nigerian photographer and filmmaker, public servant, communications strategist, podcaster, TEDx Curator and speaker/moderator who has led various development initiatives for the advocacy of youth and women empowerment across Nigeria and also for the Creative & Cultural sectors in Africa. Under her stewardship, over 40,000 young individuals have been trained and equipped with vital skills in Nigeria, and she continues to expand her support across African countries. In January 2024, she was appointed Director General of the Centre for Black and African Arts Culture (CBAAC). With this new platform, there’s no doubt that she will do greater exploits.

Tola Odeyemi

Tola Odeyemi is a public policy professional with over 15 years of experience in Technology Policy, Financial Technology regulation, Environmental regulation, Investment and Trade Promotion, Infrastructure Finance and Public Sector Policy reform. Her sterling career has included distinguished roles at global giants like Uber and Binance.

In October 2023, she was appointed Postmaster General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST). Given her proven track record, we cannot wait to see how she leverages technology to make NIPOST logistics, e-commerce, and other postal services arms more efficient and relevant in today’s world.

Abimbola Akinajo

A chartered civil engineer with over three decades of post-qualification experience, Abimbola Akinajo is a prime example of how well women can thrive even in male-dominated environments. In the course of her career, she has contributed to the design and delivery of major transport infrastructure in the United Kingdom, including the London Underground system.

As the first female Managing Director Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), she has been in charge of the Lagos public transport system and the Lagos Red and Blue Rail line for almost five years now. And the Lagos State Government and the authority set to commission major transport infrastructure in 2024, she is one to look out for.

Bukola Smith

Over three decades, Bukola Smith has worked in Customer Service, Funds Transfer, International Trade, Institutional Banking, Private Banking, Treasury, Investment & Financial Markets across the banking industry. In April 2021 she became the Managing Director at FSDH Merchant Bank (FSDH), where she has instituted a culture of excellence, innovation and integrity.

Bukola, who consistently lends her voice to initiatives that help women rise in their chosen fields, currently sits on the board of Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR) and the Toyin Oni Foundation (NGO for cancer awareness). She also serves as a mentor to several women and youths in general within and outside these networks.

Ndidi Nwuneli

An expert in agriculture and nutrition, entrepreneurship, social innovation, and youth development, Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli has over 25 years of international development experience and is the founder of LEAP Africa and African Food Changemakers. Also, the co-founder of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd. and AACE Foods Processing & Distribution Limited, she has made pivotal contributions to food security and nutrition, social innovation, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Nwuneli is billed to resume office as the President and CEO of ONE Campaign in April, and we look forward to the new grounds she will break with the non-partisan global advocacy organisation. While this list is not exhaustive, these women represent the possibilities for our societies if more women are involved in all facets of our lives. And even though they have all come a long way already, we believe they are still poised to make a significant impact in their respective industries.