On Empowering Women
Le 04/01/17 à 14h50
What have I done in the past few weeks? Well I decided to check conference on women all around Beirut. This is what I learned.
It is all about empowering women to reach the top of whatever career they aim. All these conferences bring successful women to speak about themselves. They all stress the need to persevere until you break the ”glass” ceiling and get to the top. All of them speak of the hard struggles they had to confront to get to that top.
1. There are no places in the men dominating careers for empathy because you arena woman. It’s a man’s world, you must be like the boys. No one is going to give you any slack, just because you are a woman. Your performance, what you accomplish, is all that matters.
2. You will feel harassed because of your gender. Ignore it, learn to tolerate it or move to another job. All these women who have arrived at the top speak of how difficult it was to work with some of their peers and bosses along the way.
We all know that it is difficult to get to the top. Most of these successful women ones have the advantage of higher education, family support, parents, and or husbands that offer them financial support, contacts, baby sitting and child rearing help as they went about their jobs. That is wonderful. We are all happy for them.
Still, what these seminars and conferences on women lack the ability to help all the other women who come to these conferences to get the help they need to also attain important positions in their fields.
If you lack the education level or training skills needed for your dream job what do you do? Can you get financial aid to pursue a career? How do you go about it?
If you don’t have a well-known Daddy or, Mommy, or Hubby with connections who can call on friends to help you get your foot in the door of a company or find you a dream job, what can you do?
If you have young children at home how can you get back in the work force? If you have never been at a job, but need to work, who will hire you if you have no experience?
You left your career to raise your family and now that you are an empty nester and you want to work, nobody hires you because you are too old, and what can you do?
These questions are rarely addressed. It is precisely these questions that we, the attendees to these conferences, need answers for. The solutions to these problems, not to be pumped up with slogans. “You can do it!“ Of course we ALL can do it! But job opportunities are not opening up for us common mortals, so where do we go from here? How do we incorporate more women into the work force and make their presence felt? No one seems to know. You leave these conferences feeling worse than when you came in.
The funny thing is most of these conferences and seminars are sponsored by banks. Apparently the financial world realizes that women can help in the work force and generate more money for the economy. Their purchasing power can increase sales of all sorts of services and merchandise. They can purchase homes, cars, household goods, travel… you name it! If more Lebanese women would incorporate in the in the work force everybody would benefit.
As creative as banks in Lebanon have been to lure clients to use their services, they have not done much to help women help themselves. If they can come up with loans for plastic surgeries, why can’t they create loans for women to advance in their careers? How about loans for higher education? How about loans to start their own business? Yes. ..That is what banks do, for men too.
Many women, however, do not know how to go about starting their own business, let alone how to get the finance to launch them. If banks are serious in sponsoring seminars to empower women, they must go all the way. Encourage them. Teach them how to make their business plan, and help finance them and advise them every step of the way once they launch their own ventures.
Sometimes in such seminars they complain that there are very few woman represented in the government. We all can see this problem. Worse of all at this very moment the government appointed a MAN to preside over women affairs in the government! Why so little women choose to enter the political arena? Patriarchal society, and other taboos, may make it very unappealing. If a woman wants to enter politics and run for public office she needs to be sponsored and supported by a political party. In these political parties, the majority are men. Women are easily put aside.
If we want to see more women in entry and top level positions in the Lebanese political parties, we need to train women to run for office. I believe some NGO’s have given a few courses. They must be knowledgeable in current local and national political events. She must be able to express her point of view by speaking in public, writing, and debating on any issue. If she has all these skills, every woman in Lebanon must be aware of how to run for office. Where to register, what will be her platform, how many voters must back her, etc. Who is going to show them and be with them every step of the way? Perhaps schools, political parties, or the government can open up yearly free training classes for future political posts.
Finally, why aren’t more women taking their place in every domain in the country? The fault lies in the women themselves. They are not united. Even though they all are against domestic violence, few step out of their comfort zone and stand by those women who are taking a stand.
When those lucky ones reach positions of authority in the workforce, are they helping and encouraging the women by hiring them and mentoring them in their fields? Some do, but many more can do so much more.
As I said earlier, a man is in charge now of women issues in the government. How many women have felt offended and invalidated by this turn of events? Some have, but again, very few. What are they doing about it?
You can’t expect a nation to thrive if half of it population is not given the chance to contribute their skills. Until women do not learn that they will not be empowered unless they all fight for it. Women’s rights will not come in a silver platter.
These seminars are helping bring awareness on women issues, but all Lebanese women need a change of attitude among themselves before they gain their rights.