The United Nations Development Programme, UN Women, the European Union, British High Commission, and the Embassies of the United States of America, Germany and France host Nigeria’s first inaugural International Women’s Day Awards Gala in Lagos.
5 March, Lagos Nigeria – To commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD), and to advocate for increased women’s political and socio-economic empowerment in Nigeria, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women, the European Union (EU), British High Commission, and the Embassies of the United States of America, Germany and France co-hosted Nigeria’s first International Women’s Day Awards Gala in Lagos. At the Gala, individuals and organisations from various sectors across the country were recognized for their efforts and contributions in championing and advancing women’s rights and inclusion.
Gender imbalance in Nigeria’s political leadership needs to be addressed to provide access to equal opportunities for both men and women to participate in all levels of political decision making. The award gala therefore provided an opportunity to encourage political decision makers to strive to ensure adequate space is created for women and incentivize change by publicly recognizing women’s empowerment champions across multiple sectors in the country.
The awards recognized individuals and organizations across seven categories, including Political Leadership andGovernance, Private Sector, Media and Entertainment, Arts and Culture, Civil Society, Outstanding Female and the feature award, Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. Nominees and award winners were selected by the IWD Gala Board comprised of representatives from development partners, the UN and the Federal Government House of Representatives.
In attendance at the gala was H. E British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms. Catriona Laing, German Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Brigitt Ory, American Ambassador, Ms. Mary Beth Leonard, French Ambassador, Ms. Emanuelle Blatmann, Ambassador at the Delegation of the European Union to the Federal Republic of Nigeria & ECOWAS, Ms. Samuela Isopi, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Country Director, UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, Mr. Mohamed Yahya.
In addition to having Nigerian women in senior positions in the United Nations and other multilateral organizations, Nigeria has female ambassadors of major countries like Benin, Burundi, Colombia, Cuba, European Union, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, United Kingdom and United States of America. The IWD Gala and awards also seeks to leverage the opportunity of the representation of these key countries in Nigeria by female Ambassadors to serve as an incentive to leaders in different sectors to make concerted efforts in creating more opportunities for women and strive to ensure gender equality.
Considering that over 49% of Nigerians are female, it is critical that women have corresponding representation in the political arena, and this can only happen when they have access to equal opportunities to participate in all levels ofpolitical decision making. To address this imbalance, special measures must be put in place to ensure that women are fully involved in Nigeria’s political leadership.
Award categories and winners:
1. Award Category – Political Leadership and Governance
Winner: Barrister Ebere Ifendu, Founder and Executive Director, Women in Politics Forum (WIPF)
2. Award Category: Private Sector
Winner: Ms. Amal Hassan - Founder and CEO of Outsource Global
3. Award Category: Civil Society
Winner: Professor Joy Ezeilo, Founder, Women's Aid Collective (WACOL)
4. Award Category: Arts and Culture
Winner: Princess Elizabeth Olowu, Nigerian Sculptor and daughter of Oba Akenzua II
5. Award Category: Media and Entertainment
Winner: Ms. Laila Johnson-Salami, Journalist and Founder, WeRise Initiative
6. Award Category: Feature Award - Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow
Winner: Ms. Habiba Ali, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sosai Renewable
7. Outstanding Woman Leader
Winner: Her Excellency Erelu Bisi Fayemi, First Lady of Ekiti State
Alison Clement – Communications Specialist, UNDP Nigeria | +234 701 590 6558| firstname.lastname@example.org
Faith Bwibo – Communications , UN Women |+234 913 313 1098 | |email@example.com