International Women’s Day: A CAREER WOMAN IN A MAN’S WORLD
By Hyeladzira James Mshelia
Gender issues continue to plague our World. Generally, Women are mostly at a disadvantage
and their roles and contributions to society are often marginalised. We have fewer opportunities
for economic participation than men, little or no access to basic education, greater health and
safety risk. We often experience career interruptions as a result of being the primary caregiver
at the home front, and we also battle slow occupation growth.
In public affairs, women have to fight for a seat at the table of power. And when we do get a
seat, we are not allowed to share our opinion. Where we have resounding ideas, we are unable
to speak up, should we dare to voice our thoughts, we are labelled as too ambitious, bossy,
assertive and many times shoved to the back.
Studies show Women are the victims in 80% of rapes and sexual assaults that take place in the
workplace (Duhart, 2001). Between 2005 and 2009, rape/sexual assault accounted for 2.3% of
all nonfatal violence in the workplace (Harrell, 2011). One study of employed women found that
38% had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace (Potter & Banyard, 2011). Women
suffer sexual assaults at a higher rate than men do.
If your interest and competence take you to a traditionally make pursuit, no matter how
impressive your achievements are, you will always be impressive for the ‘role of a woman’
For appearance, If a woman is beautiful and classy, she is assumed to not be smart. If she is
not beautiful, the impression is that she will not get noticed or may be assumed to not add
value. Negative people will always leap to a woman’s appearance first when attempting to tar
her image, this needs to stop.
While there is a lot of awareness and consciousness with addressing issues of gender
inequality, it is important to further emphasise that women are still at a disadvantage. The kinds
of policies that entrench these mentality are misguided
I am a woman and a successful entrepreneur. However, my progression hasn’t come without
‘gender-based’ challenges. I have attended workshops where my questions are either ignored
or the answer is addressed to the man seated next to me. I have had customers that refused to
by my perfumes because they believed a woman should not be ‘that industrious.’
Nevertheless, I’ve generally not let that hold me back. I do not believe that just because I’m
female, I cannot reach the same heights that my male counterparts can. In fact, in many
instances I believe that I can achieve much more.
Women have multiple roles, At any given time they can be workers, entrepreneurs, mothers,
wives, leaders, farmers, students, decision-makers and much more.