In Nigeria, women’s involvement in business dates back to as far as the pre-colonial era. During those periods, the average Nigerian woman was hardly educated. There were no gender inequality critics and preference was traditionally shown towards the male child or preferred heir. Very few girls were lucky to receive education and even when they did, it was not always absolute. More times than not, instead of allowing her to complete her education, the girl child was withdrawn from school and sent to farm in the woods or sell articles at the market square. Eventually, she was given out to an interested suitor. For most young women, the cycle continued at their husband’s house.
In the absence of a literate husband or one that valued education, farm work, petty trading and childbearing occupied the productive portion of the average Nigerian woman in the 80's. In a dissertation titled, From Petty Traders to International Merchants: A Historical Account of Three IGBO Women of Nigeria in Trade and Commerce, 1886 to 1970, a former UCLA scholar, Gloria Chukwu, examined the lives of three women whose devotion to trade reflects the influence of the typical Igbo woman in Nigerian business. Her studies show that the average Igbo woman’s effort in trade, commerce and agriculture is inseparable from the foundation of her community’s economy. Similarly, Effah Attoe’s Women in the Development of Nigeria Since pre-colonial Times investigates the roles of women in developing the Nigerian economy through the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras.
Today, there are many businesswomen in Nigeria. From iconic scholars of economics and management to successful entrepreneurs, several Nigerian women have clearly distinguished themselves as top industry pillars and business leaders. Though the Igbo women are generally said to be exceptional in business, several other women from the Yoruba tribe have also attained the heights of renown in entrepreneurship. Examples of Igbo and Yoruba women who readily come to mind are Chief (Dr) Hannah Awolowo, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, etc...
Continued at: CBA's Your World View