On March 8 every year, the world comes together to celebrate the International Day of the Woman, or in simpler terms, International Women’s Day.
In this spirit, we’ve decided to celebrate the Nigerian woman by highlighting her resourcefulness, thrift and resilience. While business is traditionally regarded as a masculine enterprise, women have excelled in various fields to the extent that they are easily becoming female-dominated.
Without much ado, here are four business areas where Nigerian women are clearly in the lead.
1)Beauty: Most people will tell you that women are more concerned with their looks than men are. This may be the case in reality, but the business of beauty is different from the art of looking beautiful.
For women like Tara Fela-Durotoye and Banke Meshida-Lawal, the distinction is unnecessary.
While in the past, foreign brands like L’Oreal, Iman and their ilk dominated beauty salons and make-up kits, these Nigerian women and their peers have built strong beauty brands that have taken over the space with an assurance of quality, consistency and being relatively affordable.
2)Events Management: Putting events together with perfect timing and organisation is no small task. It takes a level of co-ordination and control that events management and logistics companies have made an industry out of.
Perhaps it is their ability to manage in the most rowdy circumstances, but on the home front, the major players in this field are owned and run by Nigerian women.
Funke Bucknor-Obruthe’s Zapphire Events is an industry leader that has been featured on BBC and CNN on multiple occasions.
There’s also the queen of decorations and head of Elizabeth R Events, Ibidun Ighodalo. You know those beautiful, elaborate decorations that brighten up the Lagos metropolis during the festive period? That’s all her.
3) Food Services: Our Nigerian women have taken things beyond breakfast and lunch and developed their culinary skills to the point where food is now a business, and they are totally in charge of it.
In recent times, they have taken the food service industry beyond what we regard as “catering services” to instant delivery and like Dooney’s Kitchen, using Nigerian food to promote our culture and tell Nigerian stories.
Ghana may be at war with us over Jollof, but on the home front, as far as the business of food is concerned, the women won that war a long time ago.
4) Personal Financial Management: The typical financial analyst is a man in a dark suit with rimmed glasses and a seemingly permanent frown.
But in the area of personal finance and management, women have carved a niche that is gradually becoming their own.
Arese Ugwu and Nimi Akinkugbe are clear examples that have used their platforms; Nimi’s ‘Money Matters with Nimi” and Arese Ugwu’s “Smart Money Africa”, to simplify financial matters and solutions beyond the complex babble that we were previously used to.
5)Social Activism: Social activism is not a business (or at least it shouldn’t be) so it shouldn't count for this list, but often the survival of the many is dependent on the voice of few.
In fighting for various causes and highlighting our country’s many problems, women like Oby Ezekwesili, Hadiza Bala Usman, Joe Odumakin and Bukky Shonibare have consistently proved that voices can bend power to their will.
On this day, and always, as with all Nigerian women, we salute them.