Male perspective By Mitchell Odhiambo – ‘Does Gender Determine Your Career Path?’

Does Gender Determine Your Career Path? As an AfricaTalentbank.com (ATB) Brand Ambassador (BA), I was invited to participate and join the organising...


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Does Gender Determine Your Career Path?

As an AfricaTalentbank.com (ATB) Brand Ambassador (BA), I was invited to participate and join the organising team responsible for the G-United Graduate Career Fair which was hosted at the Laico Regency hotel, on Wednesday 30th September, 2015.

Of the 140 G-United young volunteer Graduate Assistants who had volunteered their services over the past year, 40% were women and were now ready for industry.

As part of the forum, we had a CEO Panel composed of four: Mr Jacob Kaimenyi (Cabinet Secretary for Education), Mr Manu Chandaria (Chairman and CEO, Comcraft Group),  Ms Ada Eze (Managing Director, Total Kenya), and Mr Joshua Oigara (CEO, KCB Group). Only one of the four panel members was a woman and this got me thinking: ‘Does gender determine career path?’

Considering the situation in Kenya, I am perplexed and cannot quite explain what the problem seems to be. Kenyan citizens went as far as passing a constitution which stipulates that 33.33% of all public office holders should be of one gender, to be precise; women. I still don’t understand why therefore, there is still seems to be a gender divide?

Many if not most, entry level positions seem to go to women in our present day. From HR, to Sales & Marketing, Reception, Relationship Managers, Customer Service Officers and so forth, especially if you consider the 18 – 30 age bracket. Why then, do very few of our female friends and peers, fail to reach senior positions? Is it true? Could we really have glass ceilings in place?

Are women afraid of being judged, are they up against each other or what is the problem because they make up the majority of the population across the world with ratios of 1:4, 1:6 in some countries. Where then is the problem? Is it a question of social disapproval i.e. an assertive man is regarded in a positive light while the contrary is true, for an assertive woman. Could this be it?

I am a firm believer of extending equal opportunities to all gender. That said, I believe it is also a mistake to hand out positions, reserve positions or, fix quotas for one gender. This has the effect of turning away more able or skilled candidates since even if their great skill has earned them the right to that position, there is always the perception that one got this role because of quotas and that one is probably less qualified than candidates from another gender.

I enjoy the company of women and I don’t think anyone should have to lose their feminine and gracious nature trying to be a man. Your strength is in being a woman. Embrace that and life will open itself up for you.

Welcome to a man’s world. Until we speak again, I am your host, Mitchell  To get a female perspective on this, please click link to read my colleague Lillian’s views – http://goo.gl/2cvgfx

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