AWB’s new ‘Safety in the [Legal] Workplace’ initiative is designed to facilitate systems change directly on the ground, reshaping traditional working environments to become places that accommodate growth and encourage women to realise their full potential.

Why Work?

With unemployment (33%) and underemployment (23%) at an all-time high in Nigeria, people who find any form of employment consider themselves lucky and are most likely willing to endure a toxic work environment to keep their jobs. For women, the working environment all too often remains a challenging one. Issues such as bullying, sexual harassment, emotional and financial abuse and broader inequality which they experience in wider society follow them to the workplace. In fact, the myriad of intersectional factors that contribute to gender inequality are particularly complex in the workplace. In these environments, the heightened socio-political relationships that people are required to form to succeed, as well as the sheer volume of different interactions we undertake every day, mean that women face a broad set of challenges. 

Intersectional issues such as deep-rooted patriarchy, boy-preference, normalisation of transactional sex in exchange for career advancement (sextortion), socio-economic disadvantage, lack of relevant policies and processes to prevent abuse (or indeed to hold perpetrators accountable), “seniority”, lack of representation in leadership positions, and beyond, make many a workplace difficult for women to excel and thrive. These issues form the adverse kinematics that women and girls have to contend with in their private and professional lives.

Given that most adults spend the majority of their waking life at work these communities help shape not only our productivity and prosperity but psychological and emotional well-being too. Women should not be forced to avoid work (again, part of the problem) to escape potentially abusive situations, and so the question becomes how do we transform them?

Project Launch:

The Launch of AWB’s Safety in the Workplace was a ground-breaking convening of top leaders in the corporate private sector, top-tier law firms, legal professional bodies, academic institutions, professionals, thought leaders, key donors/foundations, and civil society organisations.

“On this journey to curb violence against women in the workplace, there can’t be any change if there’s no change from the top.” ---- Nkiru Balonwu


Media Coverage:


Laying the Foundation – Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Nigeria (Development Services)

Bullying, Sexual Harassment and Sextortion: our efforts to address it within the legal profession – Sara Carnegie, Director of Legal Projects, International Bar Association

Opening Remarks (Project Launch) – Dr. Nkiru Balonwu, Founder and Co-Chair, African Women on Board (AWB)


“Us Too? Bullying and Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession”
– International Bar Association (IBA)

Sexual Harassment in the Media 
– (WAN-IFRA) Women in News.


Gender Equity Certification:

AWB Echo: