Challenging the Narratives of Exclusion: A History of Women Judges in the Nigerian Judiciary


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


History and International Studies


This study critically investigates the increasing number of women judges in the High Courts in Nigeria. In many countries, women were initially prevented from gaining entrance into the legal professions, such that almost a century after gaining entrance, they remained marginalised, under-paid and underrepresented. This however, is not the case in Nigeria where women have made progress in terms of their entrance into the legal professions and their numbers on the High Court Benches. The study will use the framework of historical narrative and historical research methodology to analyse archival materials and court records complimented with qualitative interviews with judges, lawyers and litigants to identify the factors that led to the numerical increase of women judges in Nigeria. It seeks to demonstrate that the peculiar historical context as well as the career trajectories of women lawyers resulted in the numerical increase of women judges in Nigeria.