In 2015, I attended a women’s leadership training that focused on personal and professional rebranding which was organised and facilitated by life coach Tamara Chirwa. It was such a refreshing and eye-opening training. She not only taught, but also challenged our thinking.
When I got the invite I almost excused myself from the training. I thought it was one of those trainings for women where topics are more or less like what we usually hear at bridal showers. Essentially, topics range from how to groom oneself, how to match a handbag with earring and so forth. I told myself that I had neither business nor time for such talk.
But this one was different. Of all the topics that she covered, my major take-home message was that it is time women stopped asking or simply wishing they did this or that. It is time to get up and do it. Surely, there is no one out there to hand you opportunities and indeed that dream job on a silver platter. You have to work for it and earn the recognition.
She reminded us of the everyday hardships women face at the workplace and at home. When it comes to appointments, women are appointed based on achievements whereas men are appointed based on potential. This is unfair. But, I know gender activists are doing a tremendous job in fighting for gender equality. However, the buck stops at the rest of us.
Well, I have noticed how oftentimes us women wait for things to happen even without us lifting a finger. We are sometimes disadvantaged not by men oppressing us, but by us failing to read the situation properly. There are some of us who believe by virtue of being women we should get things on a silver platter or we should earn everybody’s sympathy.
News flash: Everyone has to eat their own sweat. I would hate it if were promoted for sake of being women and not because they are capable and are deserving of the position. We need to ask ourselves what have done to earn that dream job or position before we start blaming our misfortunes on gender inequality.
No one is going to take us seriously if we do not have the qualifications that would enable us get promoted. I am happy that there are several women who are upgrading themselves academically. That’s the way to go. Yes, I know that women have since time immemorial been at a disadvantage, but we also need to acknowledge the strides made since the days of our mothers and we need to take advantage of that. We cannot afford to fold our arms and wait for someone to make things happen for us, we have to do it ourselves.
Flashing the gender card every time we are criticised only helps men to oppress us more. The ‘are you doing this because I am a woman’ mantra has to be dropped; it does not bring respect to us. We only end up being labelled as cry babies.
I know some will say, oh, please give me a break, I have done that and I am still failing to break the glass ceiling. Very true! I am not advocating for simply going back to school, getting that degree and then come back and simply sit and wait for the boss’s consideration. Go and ask for it. Sometimes us women we can be over polite that we let opportunity slip through our fingers. We do not want to be seen or be in bad books with the boss, even if we are the right candidate for that position.
Most of us are yet to master the art of speaking our mind and expressing our feelings. Several times I have knocked on the boss’s door and tell them how I feel about the salary I am getting or even the resources I am given to work with. It works. Sometimes we assume the boss knows when maybe they don’t. Stop assuming go find out. You never know maybe it was just an oversight.
There is no one out there who will come to our rescue if we are not willing to be rescued. They say action speaks louder than words we have been speaking for quite some time now let’s act maybe that way things will change for us.