In Summary
  • If you want more women in leadership, don’t use gender as a determining factor. Just use performance and potential.
  • We just want you to do for us what you do for the men; believe in us, throw in a good word, make a few phone calls and we will fly on our own!

Once again, the gender bill sponsored by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale failed this week to sail through because of lack of a quorum, forcing Parliament to defer debate to February next year.

I can only hope and pray that come February, MPs will do the honourable thing and shoot the bill into an abyss of oblivion, where it really belongs.

Now, there are many ways of including more women in leadership roles but this bill is definitely not one of those. Here’s why.

This bill suggests the only way women can get into leadership is through tokenism, nominations and freebies.

Of course, there are some threadbare arguments advanced by ill-meaning male politicians, such as the fact that these new positions might be abused by party leaders to award their girlfriends.

HARD WORK

But the main reason this bill should not sail through — from my point of view — is that it is bound to make women lazy in their nominated comfort zones, besides the fact that it really does nothing to address the real and underlying reasons why women are not in leadership in the first place.

As a young woman with C-suite ambitions, I can authoritatively say what aspiring future female leaders need is not freebie positions or even affirmative action but a favourable environment where we fairly and equally compete with our male counterparts.

While I appreciate those who look at it differently and believe nominated positions give women a “foot in the door”, I also believe if men in leadership truly want to increase female leadership, they must and should do the following.

1. Treat women as equals.

Many of you like to pretend that you are feminists and believers in gender equality, but it is almost often mere lip service.

You pretend you are blind to the gender when offering jobs and opportunities, but some of us have been alive long enough to know when it comes to equal opportunities, men are perceived as superior to women.

It is why we have never had a female president — or even deputy president — and why we do meaningless opinion polls asking stupid questions like, “Are you comfortable with a female president?”

If you want more women in leadership, don’t use gender as a determining factor. Just use performance and potential — and you will find yourself working with an equal number of men and women, if not more women.

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