In honor of this day, which is set aside globally to celebrate the achievements of women; economically, politically, culturally and socially. Today we are celebrating women who had made remarkable achievements in Nigeria.
Among them are Folorunsho Alakija, Funke Akindele, Idowu Philips, Oluremi Tinubu, Abike Dabiri and many more. Not only have they manage to excel in their careers and make people take note, but now they’ve taken it a step further and made their passions into empires worthy of celebration.
As we try to embody this year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme of #BalanceForBetter, which means calling for a more gender-balanced world, why not turn to some of the fiercest celebs turned badass businesswomen for a guide on being the best you can be?
Throughout their careers, these stars have overcome gender bias, some have dealt with race inequality, but in the end, all have come out on top and proved that women can do anything they put their minds to.
Whether it’s running a media company that produces female-driven stories, or creating a company designed to produce ethical and healthy home products and diapers, these ladies are smart, fierce and fabulous role models for women and men.
Funke Akindele Popularly known as ‘Jenifa’ entered the limelight after starring in popular United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) sponsored sitcom ‘I Need To Know’, which ran from 1998 to 2002. Funke Akindele’s big break came in 2009 when she appeared in the movie ‘Jenifa’.
She runs a non-governmental organization known as the Jenifa Foundation, which aims to provide young people with vocational skills.
Funke Akindele has a lot of endorsement deals to her name; the most recent is her being signed as Ambassador to Irokotv. Also in 2018, she was signed as brand ambassador for Keystone Bank
Funke Akindele has numerous awards to her name which includes Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, Naija FM Awards, Nigeria Entertainment Awards and many more
Alakija started her career in 1974 as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos, Nigeria. She moved on to the former First National Bank of Chicago, now Finbank now acquired by First City Monument Bank where she worked for some years before establishing a tailoring company called Supreme Stitches. It rose to prominence and fame within a few years, and as Rose of Sharon House of Fashion, became a household name.
Folorunsho has a foundation called the Rose of Sharon Foundation that helps widows and orphans by empowering them through scholarships and business grants. Her company is also a major sponsor of the Agbami medical and engineering scholarship scheme, one of the most reliable scholarship schemes in Nigeria with over a thousand people yearly as beneficiaries.
Dabiri-Erewa worked for the National Television Authority (NTA) for fifteen years, anchoring the weekly NTA Newsline programme and taking a particular interest in poverty and social justice issues. She retired from her position at Nigerian Television Authority to stand for election in the House of Representatives, winning with a substantial majority. While in this role, she stood against the third term bid of former President Olusegun Obasanjo
She was the Chairman, House Committee on Media in Federal House of Representative from 2003 to 2007, Honourable Member, Federal House of Representative from 2003 to 2007, Board Member, Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation Vision 2010, Honourable Member and Federal House of Representative from the year 2007 to 2011
Idowu Philips is a veteran Nollywood actress who had made it in the Nollywood industry beyond comprehension. Despite her age, she has still managed to lead and become an example in the industry.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
Chimamanda is a famous writer in Nigeria who has many books published in her name. Her first novel, Purpule Hisbiscus (2003), received wide critical acclaim; it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize For Fiction (2004) and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (2005). Purple Hibiscus starts with an extended quote from Chinua Achebe – Things Fall Apart.
In 2015, she was co-curator of the PEN World Voices Festival.
While on her compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps service, Ibukun worked as an audit trainee at Akintola Williams & Co. upon her love for architecture before she left for Alibert Nigeria Ltd. as showroom manager. In her quest to be independent, she established a furniture manufacturing company called Quebees Limited in 1989 before it evolved into The Chair Centre Limited and later SOKOA Chair Centre Limited following a venture merge with SOKOA S.A  and Guaranty Trust Bank in 2004.
On September 7, 2015, Ibukun became the first woman to be appointed Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria following the resignation of Prince Ajibola Afonja.
She also sits on the board of Digital Jewel Limited and Cadbury Nig Plc.
Oluremi Tinubu became the First Lady of Lagos State when her husband, Bola Tinubu, was elected as governor. As the first lady, she established the New Era Foundation, dedicated to establishing centers for all-round development of young ones and promote public awareness on environmental health and community service.
When Tinubu was elected, it was challenged at the Legislative House Election Petition Tribunal -which would later convene and uphold the election in 2012.
Tinubu was one of over 100 senators elected in the 8th assembly in 2015.