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Can the African Woman Have It All – A Successful Career and a Successful Home? (pt. 1)

Can women be successful in their careers and still keep their homes or families? Or is it a case of sacrificing one for the other? It is said that behind every successful man, there is a woman.

But can we look behind a successful woman and find a man? Is it possible for women to have it all – a successful career and a happy home? And why can’t the woman have it all? Please let’s put aside feminism and chauvinism and look at this issue dispassionately; purely from the perspective of an HR professional.

For a very long time I held the view that women, particularly, African women could easily have a successful career or business and still be able to keep their homes (families, husbands and children) intact. But my recent experiences have made me to rethink this view. When I got married in 2014, I had to relocate to Cape Coast after living and working in Accra, the capital city of Ghana for a long time. This move meant that I relocated the headquarters of my HR consultancy business which I had just started to Cape Coast. Not relocating to Cape Coast would have meant that I needed to give up on marriage since my husband, like a lot of African men, was not willing to give up his employment for marriage as an African woman would be expected to do.

As a result of the natural tendency for men to love their jobs first before family, it is easier for them to make decisions in favour of their careers in relation to building a family than it is for women to do so. This is because a woman often would actually want to have both a successful family and a successful career and therefore would be willing to make compromises to make this possible. In a case where a woman decides not to relocate, she may have to forfeit family for career which might not make her feel totally fulfilled even when she has a very successful career.

So the woman is usually in a dilemma – to go all out for career or all out for family. In such dilemmas, the African society expects the woman to sacrifice the development of her career for marriage or for the development of family. In the case where a man even defers to her wife, his family and society might ridicule him for doing so; which then predisposes a lot of African men to never yield in terms of compromising for the sake of their wives. I acknowledge however that a husband’s refusal to compromise for his wife might not necessarily be because he wants to exert his male dominance but may be due to other factors; including love for their jobs which was the case of my husband with respect to my having to relocate to Cape Coast.

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Indeed, Accra is the business hub of Ghana ─ a very good place to start, nurture and grow a business. But Cape Coast is a sharp contrast ─ not as active, business wise; the few formal businesses there have their headquarters in Accra; and if you want to source for business from them, you need to go to Accra, an inconvenience in terms of time, effort and cost. This situation has affected the growth of my business. But for marriage, I would still be in Accra and my business would be doing well.

Secondly, just about the time the business started picking up with one or two corporate clients, I got pregnant. And when I did, my doctor advised me to stay off work till delivery. At that time, the company had hired two employees – an Office Assistant and an Administrative and Marketing Manager. When it happened that I had to stay off work, I handed over to our Administrative and Marketing Manager, but she couldn’t hold the fort so I had to suspend business until I delivered.

And now, after staying off work for over a year, I have to start all over again. When this happened, it dawned on me that it is not so easy for a woman to have a successful career or business and have a successful home without facing some challenges. In contrast, a man does not face the challenge of pregnancy and its effect on a woman in terms of her career.

I am sure a lot of African women can relate to my story. There are many career women who leave their jobs to raise their children or look after their homes. Sometimes as HR professionals and employers, we prefer to have certain positions filled by men instead of women for obvious reasons. Sometimes we wonder if a mother will be able to deliver efficiently at a given role or position. Evidently, some scholars have said that motherhood usually leads to a definite bias in employment against women seeking jobs in traditionally male-dominated settings (Heilman & Okimoto, 2008).

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Research indicates that though professional aspirations of today’s African career woman continue to rise, as soon as she becomes a mother her priorities are expected to change. The African society expects a career woman to be a good wife and mother before anything else; behaving otherwise often makes her lose respect. Many African women consider their role as a mother more important than their work or career. This is because the African society frowns upon a woman who attains great success at her career at the expense of her home and family. So can the African woman be able to fulfil society’s expectation of being a good wife and mother, and still pursue her career aspirations? I will say Yes, it is possible but not without support from her family, employer and society at large.

Maternity leave provisions are essential for a working woman to effectively transition from pregnancy to motherhood. In Ghana, the Labour Law, Act 651, makes provision for a maternity leave of at least twelve (12) weeks. The Act extends the maternity leave for additional two weeks if the mother experiences abnormality or gives birth to two or more children. The Act also makes provision for one hour interruption for a nursing mother to feed her baby. But as to whether these provisions serve the needs of the working mother is a debate for another time.

In the international circles too, there is a debate as to whether women can have it all – a successful career, and successful and happy home – or not. In her book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg indicated that women can have successful careers and family lives. She said women can still further their careers and have successful homes if they don’t slow down their careers before deciding to start a family, do away with unattainable goals, and make sure their colleagues are aware when women are held to different standards than men, particularly when women succeed.

But Anne-Marie Slaughter, the president of the New America Foundation and a University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, thinks otherwise. Having resigned as the Director of Policy Planning for the US State Department to take care of her children, Anne-Marie says in her article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”, we should stop fooling ourselves as women thinking that we could have it all. She said women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich and self-employed. She criticises Sandberg’s assertions to the effect that Sandberg has oversimplified the issues, and that it will take more than a woman having an ambition to be able to successfully pursue her career and still maintain her family life. She intimated that women have very little or no control over most of the challenges that confront them as far as career – family life balance is concerned.

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But the question is: Must we forfeit our careers in order to have a successful home and family? I don’t think so. There are a few African women who have been able to successfully balance their family and career or business. In Ghana, we have Her Ladyship Justice Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, Chief Justice of Ghana; Mrs Comfort Ocran, CEO, Legacy & Legacy; Mrs Sheila Yamusah, CEO, Airside Hotel and Deputy CEO, Best Western Premier, Accra Airport Hotel; Mrs Patience Akyianu, MD, Barclays Bank; and Mrs Edith Dankwa, CEO, Business and Financial Times. In Nigeria, mention can be made of Mrs Sola David-Borha, CEO Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC; Mrs Bola Adesola, MD/CEO Standard Chartered; Mrs Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Actress, Singer, Activist and Philanthropist; and Mrs Bola Olawale, Publisher of GEM magazine – a Christian/inspirational lifestyle magazine and convener of the annual GEM BSS Summit. Their stories are stories of hope, assuring us that it is possible for the African woman to have a successful career and be successful as a wife and mother.

Again, I take inspiration from the woman in Proverbs 31. She successfully navigated her roles as a career woman, a wife, a mother, and a worshipper of God. If she was able to do it, I believe we could too, albeit challenging. However, we need to examine the traits that enabled her to combine being a successful entrepreneur with being a successful home maker so they could guide us in successfully combining our family lives with our careers. Some of the traits she exhibited were diligence, trustworthiness, selflessness, conscientiousness, effective time management and good planning. Further, what can we do, as African women to keep our career goals and aspirations alive and still maintain our homes? Here are a few suggestions.

Continue in part 2


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ARTICLES

How Entrepreneurs Can Spot Opportunities In COVID-19 Pandemic?

opportunities in covid-19

Notwithstanding the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, entrepreneurs need to confront another reality: that it isn’t just a gigantic clean and wellbeing crisis influencing millions, or even billions, of individuals across the world. This is likewise inciting an extraordinary plunge in the worldwide economy. But there are opportunities in covid-19 crisis.

The public authority, general wellbeing and financial reactions are immensely extraordinary on the off chance that you are a business person. As business originators, you will likewise require totally different activity designs set up contingent upon your area and industry.

On the off chance that you are in web-based shopping, food conveyance, video gaming or video conferencing ventures, where the business is as of now blasting, it’s a totally unexpected picture in comparison to in the event that you are maintaining a business in the lodging, café, retail, amusement, or sports enterprises.

Those entrepreneurs in COVID affected areas should be prepared to lose half to 80% of their turnover, just as a significant part of their market esteem.

opportunities in covid-19
Spotting opportunities in covi-19

Where would entrepreneurs be able to discover opportunities in covid-19?

Opportunities in covid-19 are all over — entrepreneurs need to realize how to remember them to hold onto them.

Prior to diving into market research, ask yourself this inquiry first: “What do individuals need during a wellbeing and monetary crisis?” The main pieces of information are in the words “wellbeing” and “financial.” Then ask yourself, “What aptitudes do I have? What aptitudes do I need or need to learn?”

To begin revealing the requirements of the market, go on the web! There are such countless extraordinary instruments accessible to help check what the market needs. Yet, continue with alert. We actually don’t have an away from of what the enduring effects of the pandemic and monetary aftermath will be, yet entrepreneurs can begin little and scale as they see accomplishment in their new specialty.

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Here is a snappy rundown of where to contemplate the market to reveal opportunities in covid-19 pandemic:

  • Google Search Trends
  • News Reports
  • Economic Reports
  • Climate Reports
  • Health Reports
  • International Trade Deals
  • Emerging Global Markets
  • Technology Acceleration and Innovation
  • Local Government Resources and Grants

Seeing how organizations and governments move can serve to ensure you actually and monetarily as we as a whole explore unknown waters. Likewise, with any venture opportunity, entrepreneurs should have enough monetary assets to develop while controlling the outpourings and boosting their inflows of income to endure.

As we see today, any business that gives an answer for help keep the lives of the populace running while they stay in segregation is a demonstrated plan of action that works.

Here is a fast rundown, in no specific request, of the top items and administrations where cash is at present streaming:

  • Masks, Personal Protective Equipment, Hand Sanitizers, Temperature Devices, etc.
  • Home Essentials and Improvement
  • Hospitals, Medical Laboratories, Pharmacy
  • Home and Food Delivery Services
  • Grocery Stores, Tech/Office Product Retail
  • Blogging, Influencer and Digital Marketing
  • Online Education and Virtual Services
  • Website Design, Coding, Software as a service (SaaS)
  • Curriculum Design,Professional Writing, Editing,
  • Logistics and Transportation Companies
  • Trash Collection, Laundry Services, Landscaping
  • Hardware Stores
  • Security Services
  • Utility Services
  • Janitorial, Cleaning and Disinfecting Services
  • Pet Products and Services
  • Home Beauty
  • Entertainment and Gaming
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An opportunity to search for opportunities in covid-19 is currently. With any additional time, a business visionary can chip away at reconstructing a site, make new frameworks, converse with clients, overhaul hardware and make new item contributions. Another proposal is to exploit distant work. It is more secure, more profitable and can accompany more pay and more noteworthy way of life adaptability.

Each crisis is an opportunity

Remember that the absolute generally troublesome or fascinating organizations have been made and took off during seasons of crisis.

It is in every case great business practice to tune in to what your clients need to reveal opportunities from inside a current business. Entrepreneurs who effectively study the market will have a preferred position in taking advantage of lucky breaks in the steadily changing scene of our economy.

opportunities in covid-19
The numbers can be scary but there are opportunities in covid-19

After the COVID-19 crisis the exercises to learn are:

More restricted travel of products and individuals, eminently business explorers (more far off working and far off gatherings) because of the effect of physical removing necessities. We should factor in future clean emergencies or even new battles because of worldwide congestion.

The possible development in “dematerialization” of items and administrations: for instance, we could observer a blast in 3D printers to create covers and ventilators in every nation.

Greater readiness incorporate dynamic: for instance, we’ve seen organizations like Apple changing their activities essentially overnight to configuration, produce and boat face shields for medical specialists.

The ease item sourcing model, where China and India are the world’s producers, will be finished. Globalization too. This crisis will change the connections among nations and states: introducing new difficulties, new stakes, new perils, new dangers (wellbeing and atmosphere).

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Governments should, and will, request to be free and self-ruling concerning basic medical supplies and medicines. We can figure out how Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have quickly contained COVID-19, however, their populaces are prepared to acknowledge individual following and facial acknowledgment innovations which are not yet worthy in different social orders (a lot of Europe for example). A world less open and, presumably, less free is not out of the ordinary.

With virus control prone to continue in numerous pieces of the globe, we’ll see without a doubt better approaches for life delivering new necessities, which will thus make new opportunities for entrepreneurs. Some new plans of action, new proposals around dematerialization, should be imagined.

In the coming years, the new lord of the world will be the “Amazon of dematerialization”. Also, it will be the entrepreneurs who will execute this new world.

Author Bio

Rahul Raghuwanshi is an SEO specialist and SEO Content Writer at Special Oilfield Services. Special Oilfield Services is one of the leading oil and gas industry maintenance and solution provider based in Oman, UAE.

We provide optimal drilling and completion, vibration monitoring and analysis, mechanical and reliability asset management, chemical solutions, and drilling and completion services along with reliability and asset integrity services, to oil and gas in all over the globe. With our latest and most advanced techniques we deliver best results to our customers. For more information visit our official website speciloilfield.com.

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