Dissolve NBA Women Forum to ensure Gender Equality in law profession – Tolu Aderemi

The Chairman, Arbitration Commission of the International Law Association (ILA) Mr Tolu Aderemi has charged the legal profession to promote gender diversity in every facet of legal practice.

Aderemi equally advocated the dissolution of the NBA Women Forum, saying that there is no NBA Men’s Forum .

He stated this at the Nigerian Bar Association Women Forum (NBAWF) Lagos State Chapter webinar titled ‘Work-Life balance and the legal profession: A social responsibility or a competitive advantage’ held on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Forum as a keynote speaker, Aderemi, who is also a partner at the leading law firm of Perchstone & Graeys LP, said, “it is disconcerting that of the 732 Senior Advocates of Nigeria, only a 4% fraction are ladies.

“ Out of the 37 Attorneys General in Nigeria, only 4 are female. There has been only 1 female Chief Justice of Nigeria whilst, there has been only 6 Justices of the Supreme Court so far,” he explained.

Aderemi also noted that since 1960, there has been only 1 female president of the Nigerian Bar Association whilst the Court of Appeal can only boast of 2 female presidents.

In his further analysis, he stressed
‘it will appear to me (and from statistics) the only 40% of Nigerian lawyers are females. However, we are seeing increasing 61% in public sector roles, 55% in corporate sector, 33% on the bench, 31% as partners in sized law firms and only about 15% are founders of their own law firm’.

,Aderemi advocated that to demonstrate that female lawyers are prepared for gender equality, they should promote the dissolution of the NBA Women Forum, for according to him, there is no NBA Men’s Forum.

This, in his view, should also extend to the dissolution of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Nigeria For Women Project and those other Associations established solely for women ostensibly to advocate for women empowerment.

He concluded by saying that unless this is done, their male counterparts will continue to believe the legal profession is exclusively for men and special provision has been made for women. In its stead, Aderemi charged the women participants to jointly move to re-submit the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, which sadly the 9th Assembly rejected.

Another keynote speaker who is also very senior lawyer, Mrs Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN, a former Attorney General of Ogun State, a partner at the firm of Banwo & Ighodalo and the chairperson of LASIAC similarly advocated for the dissolution of women-focused empowerment Associations.

Although the learned Silk slightly disagreed with Mr Aderemi by suggesting that the government’s 35% affirmative action be sustained as this goes a long way to support women’s growth.

The third keynote , Dr Amina Ahmed, a Consultant Gynecologist at the Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta, Ogun State charged female lawyers to always conduct health checks periodically to live a cancer-free life.

According to Dr Ahmed, early detection of any cancerous cell(s) in the cervical goes a long way to determining the success of treatment of cervical cancer.

Dr Ahmed therefore charged the women lawyers of the Nigerian Bar Association to take the lead in the advocacy of early detection.

Other prominent participants included Mrs Funke Adekoya, SAN, Dr Dorcas Abah (who served as the Moderator) and a host of other distinguished female lawyers.