For The Love Of Kenya - Woman Up!
When you type “Why women __” into Google search, the first terms that pop are “cheat, cry, play hard to get.” When you add to the line, and type, “why women make -Google says “noise in bed, make less than men, better leaders”. Make better leaders is what I was looking for. I have never gone onto Google to search for anything other than that. I can’t think of any woman who goes to Google to find out why women cheat, cry, play hard to get or even make noise in bed. Clearly those items show up because other people who are not women are doing that search. Just saying.
Why am I back on the case of women? Two things. The reactions I got from women to my article a few weeks ago when I wrote “my generation kinda blew it.” was intriguing. By and large, most women agreed with me, the really smart ones, said “watch this space” and the very, very smart ones, started acting. They took the decision to finally sit at the table. They wrote to me and said, I’m going to say “yes”. A very good friend of mine called and said, “...I need to sort out my HELB issues. I have refused to yes one too many times. The next time they call I will say yes. However I need all my paperwork in-order. So, who do you know at HELB…”. Godspeed my dear.
Ladies, we have been asked over and over again to sit at the table and the only person standing in our way, is us. For the love of God, say yes. Quit second guessing yourself.
The second reason I’m back on this issue is because I had a meeting with a wonderful gentleman on Friday. I was a little confused by his request to meet, in fact I thought he was mistaken. I asked our political editor Paul Ilado to come with me. Let me admit it before someone “outs” me. Ilado was late, but maybe it was a blessing after all. The gentleman who had asked to see me didn’t waste my time, on the contrary he gave me a shot in the arm. His issue “why won’t women take their place in leadership?” In his words “..this country needs women badly.”
Now you must understand, from where I sit, I don’t deal with a lot of women who aren’t decision makers, women who aren’t leading in their sphere (no matter how small), women who refuse to take on the big, bad tasks. The women I know don’t even consider what they do a big deal – they just get on with it. So imagine my shock that this elegant, elderly gentleman is asking me to ask women to wake the hell up and take their place in society, sit at the table and save this nation.
Incidentally, can you do some homework for me? Could you find out if indeed it’s true that the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Chair in Kiambu is a man. Not ya wanaume, ya wanawake.
Ladies, it time to woman up! I said it when I spoke to the sportswomen of the National Olympics Committee and I’ll say it again. The time for whining and complaining is long gone. The time for blaming our issues and situations on a lack of opportunities, perception and even men are also long gone. In fact, let’s get the men factor out of the way. On a scale of one to ten, men are a stumbling block in probably two. The other eight is us. If we are honest with ourselves, by and large in this day and age, men are doing their utmost to get women to rise up.
It’s a peculiar, bottom feeding type of man who still feels threatened by a woman’s need or ability to lead. That man should be avoided at all costs. Anyway, his days are numbered. When I look at my life, the people who said, “go girl” were the men in my life. Yes, I know some pretty forward thinking men and I know some weak-brained ones as well. I avoid the lame ones at all costs. You are the average of the five people you hang out with – I don’t hang out with small thinkers – of whichever gender.
Now, in case you are still wondering whether we can make a difference, the numbers are in. Women do make better leaders. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman published their results for the Harvard Business Review earlier this year and according to the data, they found that women out-scored men in all but one of the 16 competencies we look for in leaders. In the words of Zenger and Folkman, “two of the traits where women outscored men to the highest degree — taking initiative and driving for results — have long been thought of as particularly male strengths.”
If you sat down with even four women and ask them why they don’t step forward, especially because the research doesn’t come as news to them, they’ll tell you "We need to work harder than men to prove ourselves." True. So? "We feel the constant pressure to never make a mistake, and to continually prove our value to the organisation."
Women also don't feel their appointments are safe. They're afraid to rest on their laurels. Feeling the need (often keenly) to take initiative. The irony is that, these are fundamental behaviours that drive the success of every leader, whether woman or man. So women already have what it takes to lead. This country and any organisation would gain from that mind-set. In today's economic climate, every leader, male or female, would do well to avoid becoming complacent – women who earn their stripes are never complacent.
So ladies, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but here’s some food for thought. Dr. Bernard Bass, who developed the current theory of transformational leadership, predicts that in the future women leaders will dominate simply because they are better suited to 21st century leadership/management than are men. But you already knew this – so, what gives? What are your waiting for?