Friday, July 10, 2015

Do I need a penis to succeed?

I am a feminist. Unashamedly so. A few weeks ago I watched an interview of a female lecturer who was asked whether she was a feminist. She answered in the affirmative. The interviewer then asked her to define who a feminist was. This caught my interest as people define feminism in different ways. Her answer was that a feminist is one who sees the injustice in the system, the unequal relationship between men and women and seek to actively do something about it. I identify with that answer. 

I am a feminist. Unashamedly so. Even to the point that during one of my numerous schools, my mates called me ‘feminist ontologist’ because I would instinctively proffer a gendered point of view.

That is why I was happy when the President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama appointed a woman as the next chair of the Electoral Council. This increases the number of females in this present government. Off the top of my head, I can add her Ladyship Georgina Woode, Nana Oye Lithur, Dzifa Attivor and a few others who have adequatey proved that they are up to the job and able to deliver to the required standards.  We also know of the stories of the non performing female ministers who are really just window dressers. Fire burn them!

Ok. Back to my thoughts. So Manasseh Azure wrote a piece about how Charlotte Osei does not need a penis to succeed. I agree. In Manasseh, I find a kindred soul. Why do men think women need to act like men before they can succeed? What qualifies this to be a ‘man’s job’ and not just a normal position that requires the utmost levels of integrity and firmness, not manliness. 

I have been around somewhat in my short life on earth and have lead various teams comprised of men and women. I believe my leadership have been based on fairness, competence and teamwork and not because I have behaved like a man. The trust I have received from my fellow colleagues was not, I believe, because I kowtowed to all their requests but because we worked jointly in the interest of our organisation. 

The myth about having to be a ‘man’ to succeed is gradually eroding although it will take some time for it to fully disappear, especially in Ghana. And there is still much to do on this front. From asserting ourselves as competent workers who just happen to have 'xx' chromosomes to ensuring that our daughters have self esteem and  confidence in their abilities. 

Success has nothing to do with being a man or a woman, although I understand all the debate about equality, equity and social perceptions about the sexes.  Success has all to do with being competent, professional and able.  

 I wish Mrs. Osei good luck in her new position and hope she will join the likes of Anna Bossman in my books as she works assiduously to make my feminist soul proud. 

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