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compromise Attaining greater heights, do women compromise? By Chidimma C. Okeke The womenfolk have been fighting to erase the impression that they are the weaker…


Attaining greater heights, do women compromise?

By Chidimma C. Okeke

The womenfolk have been fighting to erase the impression that they are the weaker sex from the minds of people by putting in their best in their professions. Most career women who have risen to reputable statuses have not done so without facing the challenges of criticism and wrong judgment.

Some people are of the impression that most women do not get to high positions without compromising their principles, status, self-respect or chastity.

These impressions imply that for any woman to rise to any level, she must have some kind of relationship with someone, particularly a man who will make it possible, implying that women do not deserve to be in positions they occupy today.

The argument by some schools of thought is that women are intelligent, focused, disciplined and trustworthy when it comes to holding sensitive positions and their performance usually has special effects that transform the society at large.

China Ibeakor, narrating her story as a banker, said she started her career in Plateau State and was doing well in her department until the management said they needed to open a branch in Bauchi State and decided that she will be among the team to run it.

She said then, it didn’t come with much excitement for her because she had to leave her loved ones behind and live a new life elsewhere; little did she know that some people were not happy with the development.

“However when the Bauchi branch picked up very well and the management sent me to Abuja to see to the opening of another branch, many people started spreading spurious allegations and bad-mouthing her, on why she was the only one always chosen,” she said.

She started losing some of her friends, those whom she thought would be happy for her. “All I keep hearing is ‘she is having an affair with the top managers and that is why she keeps getting the elevation or promotion’.”

Ibeakor said: “Whenever I looked at myself there is this self-fulfillment. I always feel fulfilled even though I have not gotten to the height I want to be but my only regret is that some people who could not stand my success think the worse of me.”

She said: “I believe I am good in what I do and it speaks volumes for me and that is the reason why I always get the recognition. I am not compromising in anyway. Women are intelligent and can achieve a lot if they set their minds towards that and refuse to quit.”

For Mrs. Queen Ifeanyi, a civil servant, people who think any women elevated in her work place or appointed for any office has compromised her principles or self-respect to gain the position are only myopic in their thinking.

“There are women who are intelligent and can compete with men in any position favourably, so why can’t such women get good appointments to showcase their skills and competence,” she noted.

She said without holding brief for women, “I know some women compromise but you must also know that women are go-getters and we don’t need to compromise to get to any height. In fact most times we are always oppressed by our male counterparts and denied our rightful positions, as we are given less tasking offers because we are women.”

Rebecca Samson, a teacher in a secondary school, said that impression is imprinted in the minds of so many, especially men because they think every position should be left for them and women should be left to take charge of the home front.

Samson said most men force some women to compromise despite their (women) meriting to get elevated, stressing that “women are victims because some men will still go about saying she was promoted because one director spoke on her behalf.”

A professor of Development Economics and Head of Department of Economics in University of Abuja, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu, said women don’t need to compromise to attain greater heights, “even though women have a lot of obstacles to climb the ladder but that does not make one to compromise.”

Prof Anyanwu observed, however, that there are women that have the habit of compromising but that many women are very focused, disciplined, hardworking and diligent, spend their time well and compete favourably with men.

She noted that in academics it is either you publish or perish which means if you don’t publish there is no way you can climb up. “The rules and regulations, criteria for promotions are there and your writings at the right time help present you for promotion. It is not like the ministry where they just promote for promoting sake, when you have somebody or your friend and he influences your promotion.

“I started publishing from my PhD and that is why I am able to make it to where I am today, but initially it was not easy because after my PhD I started focusing on my family and the first two years I didn’t publish anything. The university had to call me that they have gotten my application but I couldn’t make it because there was not publication, so I had to settle down and I was able to combine the multiple roles,” she explained.

She said barriers in other places of work like cultural discrimination and authoritarian are issues that affect women most, adding that “women still need people to speak and fight on their behalf to get their deserved promotion.”

The proprietor of a private school, Michael Ojonugwa, said women are focused, more reliable and committed in their work and deserve to attain greater heights without compromising.

He said other women who could not stand their colleague’s position react by criticizing them unnecessarily while others react out of jealous, adding that it simply may not be the true situation.

“In fact women are being oppressed by the menfolk in their workplaces and sometimes they force them to compromise but that does not mean they don’t deserve what they get,” he added.

However, considering the fact that skills and competence are paramount in any profession and necessary for elevation, women cannot continue to fill the jobs at the bottom and bear the scorn of people when they attain greater heights or occupy higher positions.

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