The New Times (Kigali)

22 January 2013

Rwanda: We Need More Women Achievers in 2013

opinion

IN THE African traditional society, women were made for the home and not the office. Today, women are shouldering all kinds of responsibilities.

Talk of managers, musicians, officers, radio and television anchors, pilots, drivers, clerks, stenographers, MPs, ministers, Presidents, among others. In Rwanda, we have women cadres who fought alongside their brothers to see to it that Rwandans would have what belongs to them. Hats off to you all my sisters! It is not by mistake that you are where you are. Change that place for the best.

Raise your professional image and hold it high. You can do it. See yourself as the expert you want to be. Remember every expert was once a beginner. Get moving.

With all this, we still have a glass ceiling that won't easily be broken for women that are rising beyond societal expectations. Some researchers have referred to it as "labyrinth".

Today, I want us to suggest ways to overcome the labyrinth or the glass ceiling.

Don't take it for an excuse to slow you down. Rather, make it a door mat. Rub your mud on it and move ahead on the path to success. Map out your line to your success ignoring the negatives, and follow it to achieve your goal. It doesn't matter who says what. It's you who matters. According to John L. Mason, you carry with you the world in which you want to live. Good luck.

Raise your professional image and hold it high. You can do it. See yourself as the expert you want to be. Remember every expert was once a beginner. Get moving. The Rwandan woman has to stay in the limelight if she is to grow in whatever she is doing. Keep learning, researching and pursuing new opportunities and you won't know when the ceiling smashes.

Look out for strategies, but especially those that set off your personality. Look out for areas that you enjoy most. This will make it easier for you to find your way through, especially during times of prejudice, isolation, and discrimination, and when people doubt your capacity. I have this quotation for you from Frank Tyger in Mason's book that says, "You can succeed if nobody else believes in you, but you will never succeed if you don't believe in yourself". Go for it girls.

Exhibit it. Are you an executive somewhere? If so, then demonstrate it. Don't settle for less. Be your best. There is a common saying that good is an enemy of great! Do not just be good, aim for best. Excellence is worked for, it's not a coincidence. Remember that nobody said it would be easy. So, work hard and remember the old saying "hard work pays". It still does even today. Leave "good luck" to those still sleeping and throw away your blanket to work to excellence.

It does not matter what position you are holding. All you need is to get that ceiling smashed and move to the top because that is where you belong. On your way there, do not forget the following; female mentors, your creator, your family, and female friends that will whip you.

See you at the top.

The author is an educationist, author and publisher.

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