Naija Women Tell Us

23 Naija Women Share Their Experiences of Sexism


Imagine asking or pleading with a man to tag along with you before your real worth could be accepted or appreciated in some public places. It Is so sad but that’s the world we found ourselves in as women, and a world we must do all we can to change.

An Instagram user, @diaryofanaijagirl asked women to share their experiences of sexism and 23 responses were extracted.


There are certain places I go to especially regarding my business that requires me to act married.


I was with my mom when people automatically assumed my dad got her, her new car. It’s bad! Every success of a married woman is attributed to her man and he is thanked profusely, while a single successful woman is painted as a glorified whore for building her own house! The society has tied everything and female success to men, its awful.


I do so much at my place of work, but my male colleagues who don’t do as much as I do or as intelligent, earn way more. Someone said I should go meet the boss and demand an increase #yinmu, I can’t … God’s Grace has been so sufficient for me, He blesses me so much… I’m not even bothered. One of them in the office even said to another colleague that I look so smug and proud even though my pay is not all that good.


A company actually told me I couldn’t be hired as a project engineer because I’m female ( mind you, this preference wasn’t included in the advert). I would have felt better if it was because I lacked some skills but no, it had to be my gender. However, I’ve learnt to just focus on my job and improve my skills because with that I command the respect I deserve .


Tried going to Four Points with my friend to buy our lady selves some food. They stopped my car at the gate and said we had to come with a man! Went to another eatery in lekki right after and the bouncer said the same thing! Twice in one afternoon! The sexism is very real.


Happens a lot in this part of the world. Classic example is when I call the electrician, plumber or carpenter. Then they’ll be looking round and asking “oko yin nko” as in what about your husband. As though to say, we do not recognise that you will understand what we wanna repair or buy. I’ve had to put my foot down several times by saying who called you? I did. So fix it and stop looking for a man to explain to, I am not dumb.


On two occasions, estate agents refused to deal with me cos I’m a woman. When i couldn’t take it anymore, I had get my uncle to stand for me…it’s really so bad in this part of the world. Also, I was once told I couldn’t sit at the bar of a restaurant cos I didn’t have a male companion.


During INEC registration (youth service), the villagers kept asking me “You fit oferate kwomputer? Where your Oga dey”?


I took my cousin who’s a year younger than me to a center on Monday… We ordered meat pies and stuffs and I even asked the lady if her POS was working… Gave her MY card… time for pin she passed the POS to my cousin (He has bear bear so maybe she taught he was my bf or what). I ignored the mistake and put in my pin… Only for her to return my ATM card and the receipt to my cousin… I had to tell her, aunty but it’s me that gave you card and put pin in the POS… it’s mine… I’m the one paying… She’s like oh sorry and still gave my ATM to my cousin…


I’m also slim and I have had to bring in my dad on many occasions. I hate when situations have to come to this but I think on this matter, we should leverage on it because after we involve the men, we have full access. So we still get to win. And with this coming from me, trust me when I say I have a big tendency to be an independent lady but I’m learning to be interdependent SOMETIMES. So I kinda see sense in it.


As I don’t always have someone that’ll tag along with me, sometimes I wear a ring that could pass as an engagement ring to go to some shops. That tells them that there’s a guy in the background somewhere and can be called on at any time. It’s quite sad but it always works, the respect level is noticeable.


When i went to see the new apartment that currently houses our store, the agent said “please bring your husband”, i prefer to deal with a man. Store that i was paying 100% rent and all for. I just called my hubby. But now, when he sees me and wants to beg me for money, I ask him to call my hubby


Was once on a project assignment. Kept giving the workers instructions but they choose to ignore it. Not until my Brother gave d same instruction…And gbam. It was done!


Mine was with a bricklayer last weekend. Hubby was in a hurry so he showed him the first thing to do and to get further instructions from me. Dude said he was finished after a while. Came to inspect, he did a good job. Then I gave him further instructions but he told me he wouldn’t do what I asked until he talks to “oga”. Bricklayer called and boo said do what my wife tells you to do. Came back to inspect after he was done and he did rubbish. I gave him the same instructions again. He then called my hubby again to confirm the instructions. Then I made him know that “Oga” has travelled and that I was the one to pay him. Since I can’t tell him what I want done, then I can’t pay him.


I had the same problem. I am an Environmental consultant for a waste contractor. They wanted to recycle paper and I found a buyer. He came to Abuja and I set up our first meeting. The buyer kept acting patronizing towards me. And my partner (a dude) got the serious conversations even though I was the subject expert and I negotiated the meeting. I was pissed but I managed to strike a deal. He shook my partner’s hand and told me in his culture they don’t shake women’s hands. He attempted to give me a hug and I just stepped back really quickly. Well I found another buyer to deal with.


I had an experience last year. I ordered and paid for some buildings items. I later found out I was cheated and some of the items were not added to the goods going out of Lagos. I went to make noise at the store twice but the manager and sales guys were acting like i was a joke, so i had to get my hubby involved.
The first day my hubby got there, only one scream from him, the manager was shaking. I could not believe my eyes. Within minutes, they called the owner of the store (who they had earlier told me was out of the country). Their  boss immediately booked a meeting with my hubby to settle the matter and then he brought all the goods and sent them (on his on bill) to thier destination.
All these the boss did with apologies o.


I remember when my mom opened her first private hospital. People that came to congratulate her was like, daddy tried o, I was like its for mommy na


I have had to involve my dad in most of my business transactions so I’ll be taken serious. I lost big opportunities just because i’m seen as a tiny “Girl”.


Man walks into my site, requests for someone to talk to, one of my artisan directs him to me but he refused to approach me, 2nd artisan points to my direction too but he didn’t come then my engineer walks in and he goes “good day sir, pls I’m from so and so” after talking, engr calls my name and walk towards me beckoning on him to come and explain. Now I’m angry, told him I’m not interested, as I’m not worthy of being in charge as far as he is concerned, that he should go, then he starts begging saying he thought I was waiting for someone or my husband owns the place. Things we face as women in the work place is alarming.


A printing coy disappointed me for a job, it wasn’t their first time you see, but after much hassle the first time they apologized and came thru. This time was just ludicrous and i had raked, shouted, made all the noise and lost my voice, yet 24hrs and many phone calls later they were insisting nothing could be done, they are sorry but will give me a discount the NEXT time! I gave my brother the phone, he let them know he was my partner and this was just absolute rubbish,not near as much as half the noise i made. My 10days job that couldn’t meet deadline was ready in 3days after a 3min phone call!


when I introduce myself to a group of men as a lawyer, it is always followed by what one would assume is a trick question to test my intelligence before they proceed.


I work in a male dominated industry. When I have to speak with my clients and I’m with a male colleague,they’d ignore me like i don’t exist. I’ll have to say something and the guy will repeat it before their ears suddenly open. Infact I had a particular client I was liaising with. The day he spoke to a male colleague of mine, he began to ask me to run things by the man first saying “u know he’s a guy so he’ll know more”


In my younger banking days, I wanted to change my unit from settlement banking to IT because my background is computer science & Maths. I had my MCSE from Microsoft which the Head of IT unit said was compulsory yet I was rejected and my male colleague without any professional certification was chosen just because he was male.


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