Women can do better given a chance
I started my career from a very humble beginning coupled with slow growth and development in between struggles and sacrifices along the way. For me, unlike people who get it right from the word go, mine is the opposite. My life is a story of patience, endurance and hope.
Right from the start, I knew what I wanted in life even though the means was hard to crack. I remained steadfast and worked hard knowing that eventually I will get there. Despite the many challenges, I went through I never lost focus, I remained optimistic.
My life as single mother, which is a full time job and as a career woman and don’t forget I have been studying almost throughout my entire life (on and off); I also have social life to enjoy and keep fit, you can imagine what I go through. Balancing is not easy; you need a strong support system so that you don’t drift off your dream.
I’m glad that I got supportive bosses who believe in me and they don’t tire coaching and molding me. I have had mentors who constantly reminded me that I could do better to achieve my goals no matter the circumstance.
It has not been all rosy journey. I have lost jobs in between; I had difficult bosses to deal with and not forgetting complex colleagues. These have not deterred me from achieving what I want. I strive to remain professional and work tirelessly to prove myself that I’m capable to deliver results.
As a woman who wants to progress in life, all you need to do is evaluate yourself critically and put God first in all your plans. Know your strengths and build on them, and at the same time identify your weaknesses and work on them in order to bring out the best in you.
So, do women have to be flower girls or depend on sponsors or godfathers to rise to the top in their career ladder? Nope! I totally disagree. As a working mother, I believe in working hard and always aspiring to make oneself valuable. It pays back big time, it is sustainable and it enables you to live a respectful, peaceful and dignified life. Womanhood is a full circle. Within us (women) is the power to create, nurture and transform.
I know many women, ranging from the mama mbogas to the Tabitha Karanjas of this world, who have made a great impact in our society. They have cracked through this male dominated world to be where they are. They have inspired us to believe that gender, tribe and social class does not matter; if you work hard, you can make it, without being taken advantage of, or compromising your values and dignity! You can make it without the benefit of a sponsor or godfather. Never forget that you have the power within you to achieve your goals.
Ethics are vital in life. Let us be good role models to our children. Let them learn the value of working hard and respect for oneself and society from watching how we live our lives. Let the girl child know that beauty with brains is something to truly cherish and admire, a priceless gift! Beauty alone is quite something, but it means nothing. Let the boy child know that he has to work hard for himself and his family and that he has to respect and value women. Otherwise, we would be bringing up morons, lazy men and women with no values or foundations for living in a dignified society; thugs, rapists, abusers, prostitutes etc.
When we switch on our televisions and watch some of our elders and leaders debating with hatred, abusing and fighting each other, what do we expect? A failed nation dominated by hate, corruption, crime and a host of other vices. Let us change the narrative of this nation and make it great once more. You have the power within you to be the best version of yourself possible, to create a better nation and world.
How do we get there?
- Find a mentor to guide your career
Identify one or two people who can advise you. Follow up with this person regularly, take their advice at least some of the time, and let them know when you succeed or hit a major setback.
- Display confidence
Be confident. People who carry themselves with confidence, no matter their gender, typically get noticed more. Be careful though, there is a fine line between confidence and aggression!
- Learn from successful male counterparts
Have confidence, speak up, and watch and mirror your successful male counterparts. Associate yourselves with people of good reputation, who have vision and are successful in their careers. Read books that will inspire you and give you more knowledge. You are a reflection of the people you associate yourself with and the books that you read.
- Recognize the value of your soft skills
Research shows that women are likely to be better listeners and collaborators, so you should make the most of these skills in the workplace. Being welcoming, and sociable life skills count for a lot and employers don’t just look for someone who can get the job done, but someone who will also fit in with their organizational culture and gel with other work colleagues.
So draw confidence and highlight your social skills like being a strong communicator, a good team player etc. to show that you are a well-rounded individual. You need to be receptive and to integrate with everyone in the office environment and outside. In short, being welcoming and sociable at all times to build an effective social network. It is essential to sustaining strong business relationships.
- Put yourself forward
In the workplace, women are less likely to put themselves forward for opportunities, as they doubt their capability more so than men. When it comes to appraisals, this can mean that they are overlooked for progression.
To counter this, it is a good idea to consciously put yourself forward for opportunities whether it is leading on a new project, attending an event or organizing the office party. Doing this means you are more likely to be noticed, and it will give you tangible examples to draw from during job interviews and appraisals, meaning you’re more likely to stand out and succeed.
- Always learn something new
Learning should be continuous. Never stop learning. Go back to college, get that certification, learn a new language and attend professional workshops. You need to stay competitive at all times. You should have something that is an added advantage to you.
- Be a risk taker
I believe in career mobility. You need to develop a sense of career growth and development. Are you ready to shift your career for something better? Don’t be rigid when considering your next move. Take chances! Don’t end up in comfort zone, you are not a mediocre.
Regardless of what people’s aspirations are, we need to help women of all ages reach their goals, and I believe the key to that is by building career confidence. Remember change begins with you and me. Let us, women, support each other rather than bring each other down. We are our worst enemies sometimes. Every woman has a story. Look at the positive side of it to inspire you. The negative part should teach you something.
When you empower a woman, you empower the whole world around her. She is very relentless and contagious! Again, like a mustard seed, if she falls on a fertile ground and well nurtured, she will bloom in an amazing beautiful flower. Women are resilient in nature, and are the fabric that holds society together.
Given a chance, I think women can make great leaders and the ripple effects would be enormous!
Don’t you agree?