Twelve Firsts For Nigerian Women Everyone Should Know

‘The first Nigerian woman to … ‘ is a phrase we’ll never tire of hearing. And we still expect to hear for years to come, as women continue to smash glasses and break through gender barriers.

With International Women’s Day comes around the corner, here’s to the Nigerian women who blazed and continue to blaze a trail for the rest of us to follow.


Funmilayo Ransome Kuti – Activist, badass and first woman to drive a car.

Can you imagine how ridiculous it was that Mrs Kuti was the only woman driving a car in Nigeria? It’s not like it was against the law or anything, driving a car was just not seen as a woman’s place. Seriously, just driving a car.


Aloma Mariam Mukthar – First female lawyer from Northern Nigeria, judge from Kano high court, justice of the Court of Appeal, justice of the Supreme Court and Chief Judge of Nigeria.

Can you even imagine how many pages this woman’s C.V would be?


Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi – First female physician to practice in Nigeria.

As at 1938 she was the second woman in West Africa to have even qualified as a trained physician.


Flora Nwapa – Mother of modern African literature and first female published author in Nigeria

She was actually the first African writer to be published internationally in English language.


Grace Alele Williams – First woman to become vice-chancellor of a Nigerian university.

Apart from becoming the first Vice-Chancellor in 1985, just 34 years ago, she was also the first Nigerian woman to receive a doctorate degree.


Captain Chinyere Kalu – First female pilot in Nigeria.

This happened in 1981 just 38 years ago. And even today in 2019, the percentage of female pilots in Nigeria is ridiculously low.


Adetowun Ogunsheye – First female professor in Nigeria

She was also the first woman to be appointed dean of a faculty.


Ire Aderinokun – First Nigerian woman to become a google dev expert.

The most fascinating thing about Ire’s story is that she’s completely self-taught.


Folake Solanke – First female SAN

It’s been 38 years since she became SAN. Today only 4.2% of Senior Advocates of Nigeria are female.


General Aderonke Kale – First female army general in Nigeria.

She was already trained as a medical doctor before enlisting in the army and rising through the ranks to become general. Killing it at two different career paths like it was nothing.


Mo Abudu – First woman to own a pan-African TV channel.

In not just Nigeria, but the whole of Africa.


Sarah Jibril – First woman to run for president in Nigeria.

When Remi Sonaiya ran for presidency in 2015 a lot of people thought she was the first woman to. But before her, Sarah Jibril ran four times at a time when people thought it was ridiculous for a woman to run for president.


Here’s to more firsts from Nigerian women everywhere.