Legal Nigeria


Today, I join all women worldwide to celebrate the International Women’s Day. It is a day to commemorate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide; to raise awareness about the persistent challenges and barriers that women face, and an opportunity to renew our commitment to finding strategic solutions and taking decisive actions to invest in women and girls.

Throughout history, women have demonstrated exceptional strength, resilience, and intellect. In the legal profession, we have witnessed the remarkable strides made by women, not only as legal practitioners but also as leaders who shape the course of justice and equality. As we celebrate this auspicious day, I am proud of the many achievements recorded by women in the Legal community and to highlight the achievements of our women’s rights group within the Nigerian Bar and beyond.

These groups have actively championed and continue to inspire the inclusion of women and girls, not only in the legal profession but also in the larger society. The NBA, Women Forum (NBA-WF), the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) deserve profound recognition and appreciation. Despite all odds, they have continued to protect, promote, and preserve the rights of women and children in Nigeria through workshops, seminars, pro bono legal representation, counselling, outreach, public advocacy, and legislative advocacy.

I celebrate all women who have continued to break glass ceilings and inspire inclusion.

However, this celebration is also a platform to raise awareness about the challenges women still face in the Nigerian society, including gender-based discrimination, violence and unequal access to education, employment, career development, and organisational leadership. The battle is being fought, but it is far from won. As lawyers, we must take up the mantle and lead the charge towards gender equality.

We must find strategic solutions, and it starts with us. We need to continue to support each other to pave the way for each other. When we force the door open for one of us, we do so for all. The strategy is unity. Together, we are a force that cannot be pulled down. We must continue to advocate for change, educate ourselves and others, and hold those in power accountable.

It is crucial to dispel the notion that certain positions are reserved exclusively for one gender. Much like any other, the legal profession should be a space where merit, competence, and dedication are the criteria for advancement. Embracing gender diversity enhances the richness of perspectives, fostering a more inclusive and dynamic environment. By collaborating and supporting each other, we can create a ripple effect, gradually dismantling barriers and paving the way for a more equitable future.

This year’s Women’s Day theme is “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.” This theme emphasises the role of investing in women’s education, healthcare, business, career development, and leadership development, with the overarching aim of accelerating progress towards gender equality. This is a call to all of us to do our part in investing in women and girls, not just today but every day. As we celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness for gender equality, remember that we are all in this fight together. We must continue to push for change, support each other, and work towards a world where every woman and girl has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Joyce Oduah FICMC
Principal Partner, Joyce & Okey Oduah LP
Immd. Past General Secretary, Nigerian Bar Association
Vice President West Africa, PALU
Council Member, Commonwealth Lawyers Association
Former Council Member, IBA
Former National Treasurer, NBA