Here is a personal article embedded in so much truth, showcasing how women are being empowered in one walk of life in our great nation..
“The journey of a thousand miles,begins with a single step” ours started a while back.
Women lawyers usually have to work much harder than their male counterparts, juggling both career and family, to make a mark in the legal profession. Nonetheless, many have been able to succeed. On November 16, 1936 when Mrs. Stella Marke was called to the bar as the first female lawyer in the country and this paved the way for many other women. On March 5, 1980 Mrs. Folake Solanke became the first woman to be admitted to the distinguished rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Significantly too, on Monday, April 12, 2010, the esteemed rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria was awarded to more than one woman at a time. This brought the number of female SANs from seven to ten, which compared to the 300 men is almost insignificant, but is definitely a huge stepping-stone for female lawyers in Nigeria.
The women among them were Dorothy Udeme, Nella Andem Ewa and a woman who I am proud to call my mother, Sylvia E. Shinaba (RIP). After being in practice for 24 years, Shinaba applied thrice before she was eventually decorated at the fourth attempt. She was quoted to say, “I was shortlisted and interviewed but at the end of the day, there was a limited number to be picked, invariably, those in the Privileges Committee decide who gets to be conferred. The conferment with the rank is a privilege; it isn‘t the right of any legal practitioner.” She also lists the criteria for recognition; ”One must have achieved distinction in legal practice, have a certain number of cases and appearances in the higher courts of law, including the high court of appeal and the Supreme Court. One must have a standard chamber, a certain calibre of library, equipment and things like that. You must also be a lawyer of integrity. “
Despite the male dominated nature of the legal profession, the recognition of hardworking female lawyers in Nigeria has evidently improved over the years. I am truly inspired by my mother, and I hope to one day become half the woman she was- a great lawyer, housekeeper, wife and most importantly, the best mother.
Born, resident and a citizen, it is with pride that I call Nigeria my country.”