First Women

FIRST WOMEN: First Nigerian Woman Senior Advocate Of Nigeria




For more stories on Nigerian women who were first in their fields, visit FIRST WOMEN page for our past collections.


Chief Folake Solanke became the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 1981. Now 84, Folake was born on the 29th of March 1932 at Abeokuta, Ogun state.

In 1954, she obtained a degree in Latin and Mathematics from Newcastle University (then University of Durham), England.

In 1955, Folake received a diploma certificate in education and joined the faculty of Pipers Corner School, Great Kingshill, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, where she taught Latin and mathematics for 2 years.

In 1960, she was admitted into Gray’s Inn, London to study law and then returned to Nigeria to practice in 1962.

Solanke began her law career at the chamber of late Honourable Justice Michael Adeyinka Odesanya (rtd),  while teaching Latin and Mathematics at Yejide Girls Grammar School in Ibadan, Oyo.

In May 1963, she was called to the Bar in absentia.

In 1972, Folake also became the first female Commissioner of Western State and chairperson of the Western Nigeria Television Broadcasting Corporation (WNTBC).

Folake was also the 42nd and the first African International President of Zonta International, a global organisation of executives in business working for the advancement of the status of women.

At the IBA 5th World Women Lawyers’ Conference in London, Chief Folake was given the 2012 IBA Outstanding International Woman Lawyer Award for her professional role to the advancement of women within the legal profession.




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