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This is a good time to be a girl

By TABITHA AREBA

My dad tells me that when I was growing up, some of his friends would refer to him as ‘that confused man’ because he struggled to give all his children, both boys and girls, equal opportunities academically. He may have not had an experience of what it meant to educate a girl because all his sisters never attended school, but with hindsight, he tells me that educated girls are a gem to families. The world has changed so fast that the scope of ‘the place of women’ has widened, as it ranges from the kitchen all the way to state houses. This is dominantly the advantage of having women lead organisations because they possess basic knowledge on societal issues – from the very basic to the abstract.

Every woman who occupies a leadership position has an interesting story to tell about the obstacles and opportunities women face as they rise to leadership positions. I had an opportunity to attend a women mentorship program recently and here is what I captured as a must do for women to rise to the highest level of their aspirations.

  1. Let the girl learn

One of the secrets that billionaires have embraced is reading, reflecting and experimenting. An article published in entrepreneur.com, titled The 5-Hour Rule Used by Bill Gates, Jack Ma and Elon Musk points out that the most successful people on the planet are also the people likeliest to devote an hour a day to reading and learning. Information is key, and people will always value a woman based on how knowledgeable she is.

  • Have a morning routine

 A speaker from Ghana gave a story about his corporation whose staff have a daily early morning spiritual routine that sets the mood of the day. “What you do between 3 am and 6 am can change your life forever, that is why anyone who wakes up after 6 am is a failure,” he said. The speaker attributed the success of Jesus’ ministry to his early morning-prayer routine. He challenged all people to discover their vital 20 per cent that will make the most impact, and give that priority. “If you are able to do the difficult tasks first, sort them out early in the morning, you will achieve maximum results,” he said.

  • Be original

Women have always been told to stand out, be bold and aggressive in order to compete in a male dominated leadership arena. While this could be an effective path, you are likely to wear out faster when you imitate and the consequences could be direr. I concur with Helena Morrissey in her book A good time to be a Girl when she says that women shouldn’t have to copy men but should be free to succeed in their own way. “So stop telling women to push harder for pay rises like the men do and ask why on earth you’d encourage a pay system that rewards self-promotion over talent,” she says.

Tabitha Areba is the Manager, Publications, Branding and Research at the Kenya Institute of Management. Email: tareba@kim.ac.ke.

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