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IAWL Kicks off the Launch of Four-Country Reports on Women in Law and Leadership

The Institute for African Women in Law (IAWL), in collaboration with the Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum (NBAWF), launched a three-part report on Women in Law and Leadership in Nigeria. The event was held at Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel, V.I., Lagos, Nigeria, on 18th January 2023 and was well-attended by members of the legal, judicial and academic communities, women Senior Advocates of Nigeria, male allies, key policymakers in the legal profession and other prominent stakeholders.

Over the past year, IAWL conducted extensive research to gain insights into the representation of women in the Nigerian legal system - bar, bench, and the legal academy. The reports, under IAWL’s Strategic Initiative on Women in Law and Leadership in Africa, provide an up-to-date, comprehensive analysis of the current state of women in law. Respondents from the Nigerian bar, bench and legal academy were interviewed to understand the current situation better.

Nigeria is one of the four countries where this study was conducted; the others are South Africa, Senegal, and Kenya. The project explored existing obstacles that have hindered women's progress in the legal professions in these countries despite the growing numbers of females in the legal field. Some highlighted obstacles include persisting sexual harassment, a lack of institutionalized mentoring for female legal professionals, discriminatory hiring practices and childcare and family demands. The reports also offered recommendations such as providing formal mentoring programs and effective support systems, addressing gender-based discrimination in the professions, and closing the gender pay gap. These recommendations are expected to guide interventions and investments in the future to promote female leadership in law in Nigeria.

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association Women’s Forum (NBAWF), Mrs. Chinyere Okorocha, in her opening remarks, recognized the importance of collaboration between the two organizations. Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, SAN gave an overview of the reports. Addressing the gathering, the Executive Director for IAWL, J. Jarpa Dawuni, Ph.D., explained that these reports are part of IAWL’s strategic approach to closing the knowledge gap and the lack of literature and data on women in law in Africa. The event also featured a fireside chat session where the Special Guest of Honor, Justice Amina Augie, CON, delved deeper into her life as a woman in law and leadership. She charged women in the legal field to embrace obstacles and see challenges that come their way as a learning and molding experience. The reports were then unveiled by the dignitaries present, including Mrs. Hairat Balogun, OON, and Mr. Gbenga Oyebode of Aluko and Oyebode. Following this, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), represented by Mr. Adesina Adegbite, extended a message of goodwill and expressed the NBA’s support for the work of the Institute for African Women in Law.

IAWL board member Dr. Onyoja Momoh gave an insightful address on gender justice during her acknowledgments. She emphasized that rights are meaningless unless they can be consistently enforced. The event concluded with remarks from Prof. Oluyemisi Bamgbose, SAN (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, University of Ibadan), who urged senior members of the legal society to mentor the younger generation. She emphasized that the process of mentoring is beneficial to both mentor and mentee, as it equips the latter with the necessary skills to progress in their career.

This report will be a helpful resource for anyone looking to better understand the state of women in the legal profession in Nigeria. It will also provide a useful starting point for further research, discussion and interventions about the future of women in law and leadership.

The reports from all four countries will be available on our website after all four reports have been launched. We invite you to read the reports and share your thoughts and feedback.

Click here to view highlights from the event.

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