Halfway through a conversation between Miss Gidi and Mr A

Me: Mehnnn I need to make Forbe’ list in this life

Mr A: So where will your husband be?

Me: Ummm Forbe’s list too duh!

Mr A: Abeg Miss Gidi, you need to chill on all this your over ambitious goals, at least play it down because most men don’t like women that look like they want to compete with them


Well friends, welcome to another day in the life of a single sister in Lagos, today we are discussing being ambitious and how that affects your ‘man market’.

In a country like Nigeria where there are a lot of female entrepreneurs (including your fish and pepper sellers in the market) I wonder why most Nigerian men (not all) have a problem with a woman who is driven. Fortunately, I happen to be one of those women who aim for excellence, to be the best at everything I do. While in secondary school I ran the school’s tuck shop for about a year (or was it a few months) under the Junior Achiever’s program and ended up winning an award for the best company run under the J.A. program that year.

Even in Uni, I was elected the president of an organisation and with the help of a fantastic team, we were able to transform it from nothing to one that was recognised for excellence and I was awarded with the highest leadership award for my efforts as the President of the organisation. I’m not trying to blow my trumpet here instead I am saying that excelling at what I set my hands to do has always been my motto in life and with parents like mine being mediocre has never been an option.

Unfortunately though this trait of mine does not seem to help my ‘man market’ because as a single woman who wants to get married I am told I need to tone down my drive for excellence and never discuss some of my life goals such as being on the Forbe’s list. Apparently, my physical appearance already intimidates men so being an NFA (No Future Ambition) should balance the equation.

For the record, this has nothing to do with having a demanding job, this is about being a woman who is driven to succeed.

Don’t get me wrong, some Nigerian men love a woman that is entrepreneurial and driven BUT she cannot be better than he is or more driven than he is, so while he deals in oil/government contracts, she should stick to selling shoes and bags in the marketplace, never aspiring to have her own brand or expanding into being one of the top shoe producers in Nigeria (heck Africa!) …a few shops here and there should be height of her aspiration.

Each time I have this discussion with people, I am often reminded that most women who are supposedly ambitious are single, divorced or widowed. There is the misconception that a woman who aims to be excellent in anything other than being a wife and mother cannot be ‘tamed’ because she may forget her role in the home while she aims for success in other aspects of her life.

Our society gives me the impression that being mediocre or pretending to be is what makes me more of a ‘marriage material’; I must learn to slow down to be accepted; so don’t be too educated (unless you are a medical doctor), don’t aim for greatness, don’t own properties, don’t drive luxury cars (unless a man bought it for you) and in my case, don’t dream of being on the Forbes list.

My question is with the number of female entrepreneurs we have in our country why is being an ambitious woman a threat to the average Nigerian man? Who says a woman cannot have it all? Or is ‘having it all’ something only men can aim for?

Sadly for ‘our society’, I was not trained to be mediocre, I was trained to be the best that I can be, aim for greatness including being the best mother and wife…surely there has to be a man who can handle all of that.


Categories: Blog, Single Journals

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40 replies

  1. Great post. This is an interesting one. .. some guys like the idea of having an ambitious women but not the reality. This is still a patriarchal society and as you said it’s all good a woman being driven as long as it stops at a certain point. Unfortunately this perspective is reinforced by every institution in society. Women who want the same things as choices as men are selfish, weird or wild….because women are still not seen as equals. Thankfully the world is a big place so somewhere out there (i hope) are guys self assured enough to want a partner that is excellent.


  2. Men are very much into ambitious women and i mean ambitious women who don’t try to rub it in your face every damn time . Men like ambitious women who don’t toot their own horns .


  3. I guess I should count my blessings that my Nigerian boyfriend supports my ambitions. Men who don’t like driven women are cowards, in my opinion


  4. So what ur friend is saying is that most married Nigerian women are not ambitious/driven otherwise how would they have snagged a husband.

    got it.

    *makes note to self*


  5. Yea, I have always been under the impression that Nigerian men prefer for their wives to be overly ambitious. Its a thing of pride for them to let it be known that their wives are the top physicans in the biggest medical centre in the world. Or a top manager at Central Bank and even the CEO of the leading manufacturer of whatever commodity she’s involved with. I’m most certain that most Nigerian men, if not all, will be more than elated to have a Forbes worthy wife as bragging right. So, I dont quite understand what you are on about. Please clarify


    • Amarachi gets what I was saying. Ada, maybe the men around you are the ones who have been supportive but in reality there are a lot of Nigerian men (didn’t say all) who find an ambitious SINGLE woman intimidating. When it’s their wife, the glory comes back to them especially if she became established while married to them.


  6. I think this is partly a generational and/or education thing. I know some guys who would not speak with a woman that is not “on their level” in their opinion. So it varies. I don’t think it is “most” for the younger generation.


  7. I’ve talked to a lot of men about this, and they tend to mention that they feel that a woman who is focused on her career won’t be as invested in him and raising a family. I talked to my dad not too long ago and while he supports my professional pursuits 100%, he says that if I want to get married then I have to place just as much emphasis on building/establishing a relationship with a man as my job. He says he’s seen a lot of women tell men they don’t have time to date or be in a relationship because of school and I guess when a man hears that enough, he assumes that any woman still in school or really into her line of work will reject him for the same reason.


    • I guess this brings us back to Kiks’ point. Men want ambitious women who aren’t arrogant about it. Because I have encountered far too many arrogant single Nigerian women. The ones who wont waste time to list their credentials. That on its own should be a turn off to any rational human being.


  8. From personal experience, my ambition mattered to my boyfriend prior to us dating because he wanted an ambitious and driven woman. It probably depends on people’s upbringing. His mom was a very driven, and successful woman, so maybe that’s why this quality is a factor for him.


  9. I never discuss my business ambitions with anyone who isn’t directly involved. I tend to keep it within what people see; I make custom wigs and sell hair. And plan to open physical locations in the new future. That’s all I disclose and that is all people need to know.

    As a single/unmarried woman, its even wise for you to downplay ur success and ambition. There are far too many lazy men out there looking for meal tickets. Before you enter one chance and left to suffer and feed a man all ur life. I have girlfriends who own multiple investment properties and vouch not to disclose their assets to their boyfriends until its time to sign those prenups!!!!


    • I advice my brother/male cousins to do that. My younger brother who is a MD lives in a modest condo. He didnt run off to buy a mansion just to show people he has arrived. Despite all pressure to do so.


      • Actually, I take back that comment..I remember meeting a man who told me he was ‘in healthcare’, but later found out he was an MD on facebook..


  10. Ladies let’s stay on the topic. It’s not about what you have but what you want to be as a woman. but still on marriage, I know someone that was dumped because she would not shut down her business to work under her fiance. Lets be real, some men love the idea of an ambitious woman but won’t marry one.


  11. Ok.. So I have a simple perspective: where I am from, I was told from a young age not to “look” at your wife’s stuff. Because your wife’s stuff is her stuff and your stuff is her stuff. Now it boils down to personal attitude. There is no issue when and if a woman is ambitious. I will support you 110%.. Same way I need her support too. Any man that shuts a woman’s ambition down because he is afraid of what she might become is a coward. She can be anything she wants to be. I think where most men have issues is when her ambition clouds her so much that she loses focus of her part in the family or relationship: same thing if it was the other way round too…
    Another situation is where she throws it in your face. No one likes that. So pls.. My wife/ gf is like a plant and I am the Gardner.. My work is to support her and help her be the best that she can be. Period.

    For the disclosure part.. It also depends on who you are with. Me, you will know everything.. If I trust you enough to even kiss you then I can trust you with my life. The moment I find that I am not able to talk to you about things are important to me.. Then why am I with you???

    For the part of guys being intimidated.. Really it’s both ways.. And it’s also depends on the triggers. I have been in that situation before and something triggered it and that was the beginning of the end for that relationship. I have learnt my lesson and It won’t happen again.. But bottom line is whenever we are in a relationship.. We should be guided by this rule: if the tables were turned.. And you are treated the way you are treating that person.. Will you be ok with it. If your answer is yes.. Please by all means carry on.. But if no.. Then you need to retrace your steps and do it right.


    • Well articulated… It all boils down to attitude. And it certainly goes both ways. I’ve passed on a couple successful arrogant men. Real billionaires are often humble ya fo kwa umu nwa ba’nshi!!!!!


  12. being humble doesn’t get you a man , being simple does ! simplicity is key ! a man doesn’t want to know what you have done for your company , where you have been to , who your family is (except shallow men ). a MAN WHATS TO KNOW YOU , whats t know you are strong and independent , you have your own and you don’t need his. Ladies simplicity and being humble are not the same thing . an ambitious simple single lady will have men all over her , a ” i have done this and that ambitious lady” will DIE single


    • you make it sound like a lady cannot be simple YET driven to succeed (ambitious) It’s not about listing what you have or have done, that’s being boastful not being ambitious. Unless you are assuming they are one and the same


      • A lady can be simple and very ambitious , the only way man will not want an ambitious woman is if she is boastful about her achievements ! which most ambitious women do unknowingly


  13. It’s obvious that most of the people who commented do not live in Nigeria therefore they are exposed to ‘modern’ men. For those of us that live in Nigeria, this post is the reality. The cowardly men admire the ambitious women from afar but they never marry them…look around you, what’s the rate of successful single women to married ones. Doesn’t mean the married ones are not ambitious, most of them sacrificed their dreams and ambitions for a successful marriage.

    Good post Miss Gidi


  14. nobody wants a liability which i think most Nigerian girls are prepared to become ! It is refreshing to see an ambitious woman . Most men on this side of the Atlantic are insecure they often fear that if they meet a woman who is richer she will not respect them .


  15. But that’s the reality of things.
    I don’t know what’s wrong with our men? Why should you be intimidated by successful ambitious women?
    Don’t buy a big car,don’t do this, don’t do that you will scare the men away.
    I see beautiful sisters all over, successful,driven and ambitious but no man, but why? And they mostly fall prey to the playboys.
    But the reality is that brothers need to wake-up like it or not they are taking over.
    Instead of being intimidated and timid let us step up our game.
    Be more focused,driven and ambitious so we can make a great team with these women, thats how empires are built.
    I Love me some ambitious woman, man mother is one,without God and her i can’t be where i am today.
    In other news miss gidi seems like a catch!
    The right man will can around and the blog can change to married in gidi.
    Keep up the good work..peace


  16. I can relate to this post, was having a conversation with people in my office and certain people commented on how they wouldn’t like their wife to work, and that they would prefer her to be a SCHOOL TEACHER while he did the main bread winning…….erm what?

    That right there is the epitome of a guy that wants the glory for himself and his wife to stay at home tending to the kids or selling shoes and bags in her little shop in the market, which is absolute nonsense in my opinion. I’m not striving to be the breadwinner of the family, and if my husband makes enough cash then I don’t mind not taking a traditional working job. But know that whatever I chose to do I choose to put my full 100% in it, whether its starting or heading an NGO or even my own ‘shoe and bag business’. Why would you ever want someone who is content to wallow in mediocrity, that shows a lot about the character of the person to be honest.


  17. My mom is a pharmacist and at the time she met my dad, men only married women that went to teachers college or studied secretarial studies. This is not to say that her profession is better than the ones mentioned but she always told me that her family warned her that if she advanced too much she would stay single. She married at 25, rather old in the early 80’s. But my dad always said what caught his attention was her drive to do what women of that time never did. Miss gidi what your saying now started a long long time ago and it seems like it is here to stay indeed. My prayer is that just like the mom found the right man that love all of her. The right man would come around and support me 101%


  18. That’s the lazy ass black man talking. I’m glad you don’t intend on listening to them. When they are at weddings and other social functions it’s ok to joke ‘what a man can do a woman can do better’ but when it comes to proper reality we don’t like it abi? Rubbish. Those are lackluster and unmotivated men that would have stagnated and wasted away anyway. Those are the kind of men that feel that becoming an AGM in a bank is the pinnacle of their success and that’s where they should stop. And even so, why must you hold the woman back? If you’re jealous of her, then moooove that ass and do more. Please abeg, the world is run by movers and shakers and I for one ain’t trying to get left behind. I’m with you jare!


  19. In Nigeria, depending on the type of education and background the men come from, a huge chunk of them don’t want an ambitious woman in reality. They want to be demi gods in their wive’s lives.

    I see ambitious women all over lagos , most are not married, the married ones are married to dead beat permanently unemployed no hopers (playboys).

    I’m not an overly ambitious woman but i have been told not to sound too ‘intelligent’ lol. Maybe I’ll snag a man, LOL

    There are other men in the world.

    Quick question.

    Why do men always assume they are choosing us, don’t they realise we are choosing them.?


  20. Thank God I married my husband. It not about what you have done as a womam or want to do as a woman. For many man its about how they fit into your life- not talking about the lazy ones. I was extremely well off investment wise before I met my husband and then the market crash humbled me by 2010 ish when I felt the effects fully. Things are still slow, but I realise my husband is my biggest support however there is an inherent need for him to take care of me as me as his wife. irrespective of what i am aspiring to or have amassed, i let him play his role in my life as a provider and protector, not 100% compliant, but so far it has worked.


  21. I dont understand how u can be ambitious without being arrogant about you ambition. Your ambition means the world to you. It is crucial in the framwork of your happiness. I’m not here to have you knock my dreams like pangolo cos you dont see them as anything. I wont let you do it. Even ‘quietly’ ambitious people are arrogant about it. “oh? i cant do it?? I will show dem” and when they do we talk about how they ‘ignored the haters’. abeg. Ambition is arrogant. Ambition is self pride and self worth. if you arent arrogant about those, well, enough said.
    This concept of a non-arrogant ambitious woman is a facade to hide the fact that naija men dont want their women ambitious after a point. The Igbo man will send his wife to school, pay for her university education just so that when she serves his friends ofe nsala and star beer on sunday evening he can brag about his Chioma did her ‘maastas’ in clinical neurology. A yoruba father will send his daughter to the best international educational facillities and just before she can land that dream job, marry her off to the ‘suitable man’ she has been groomed to find for herself ( It’s 2014. We are assuming daddy and mummy are that ‘liberal’).
    Nigerian society is deeply mysogynic. we want our women controlled firmly under thumb. We want to tell our women what they can do are where they can do it. We want to define our women, forgetting that they are already defined by nature. You dont tell the sun to shine like the moon. So what if she brings that competitiveness to the relationship? what are you bringing to the table that is worthy of her competition? better yet why not harness her drive and let it propel you?
    Nobody put it better than our dear Chimamanda. “we tell our girls to be ambitions but not more than a man”
    Minds as such are the reason feminists exist.


    • I bow down for your mastery with simple words! Well said, mostly. I would also add pride. When I accomplish a particularly difficult task I like to tell people I believe care about my achievements…usually in a case where I’d been pushing a difficult goal for ages. Some people are just haters and want to see the negative in everything as if it is a bad thing to take pride in your hard work.

      Some men hunt for the wife that has it all already oh! Why hustle for a house in Banana Island when the babe has done the work for you already? They just wash, put leg enter marriage and loaf off the woman. And the woman finding it difficult to find the right one ends up settling for the loafer, so the whole successful female has different types of wahala mehn.

      I have loads of male friends and they tell me that men find me very intimidating and that they also were intimidated by me when we first met. Good thing they had strong enough brass balls to know me better before shying off. I can not be less than who I am to please any body. If my success intimidates you, nah your own wahala. I kuku don’t want to associate myself with someone that does not have the balls to stand his own grounds.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I admire ambitious women a lot, and always make sure I ask new acquaintances about their ambitions, and I always lose interest when I find out its all about marriage to them. I believe that when a woman makes it in the corporate world, her stock is quadrupled, and those men who are scared and intimidated by successful women have no businesses breathing the same air as these women.


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