The Pulse

Women at the top

Ashenafi Zedebub

It is not at all a rare occurrence nowadays to see women assuming a high post in government, public or private organizations.

Today, we see women named or elected to hold office of a prime minister, minister, and bank president, CEO of insurance companies and large establishments, as speaker of parliament, as a judge, as a notary public, as editor-in-chief or managing editor of mass media and so on and so forth.

“Women at the top” as very high ranking politicians are also seen in our world of today. For instance; Mrs Clinton is heading the foreign office of what they call “a strongest nation on earth” – The United States of America – as Secretary of State.  Mrs Angela Merkel is heading a government of a leading industrialized nation of Europe – The Federal Republic of Germany- as Federal Chancellor. In our country Ethiopia, we have as well, among others, one woman minister appointed as Minister of Mines – a post heretofore held by men. Mrs. Sinknesh Ejigu is the Minister of Mines of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

This, indeed, is a social advancement and improvement of the status of women in the society. There is no doubt about that. But, needless to say, to secure all or at least some of the rights, privileges and opportunities they have exerted enormous efforts.  The struggle for freedom and the fight against the unreasonable enthusiasm for the glory of the male was and still remains highly significant in the emancipation of women.

Things which happen in real life are sometimes stranger than things that occur in novels. Nevertheless, the number of women in high ranking posts has, from time to time, increased so much so to the surprise of male chauvinists.  Men, who shamelessly show prejudice against women, simply want to take the phenomenon as extraordinary, supposedly supernatural event. Why does the good male chauvinist consider this as a miracle? It is just for the simple reason that he does not want to accept the woman as a winner. He does by no means recognize the great efforts applied and the sacrifice made by the female to attain the status in question.  Last but not least, he would not at all acknowledge and accept defeat.

It is without any doubt that the number of women at the top has now increased. But how do the male subordinates respond to this? Are women bad executives?

When I happened to ask some people, I usually hear the expression that it is “unusual situation.” This has been said by far too many people. In contrary, there are few men with different opinion. Once I asked a middle aged watchman, who claims to fulfill his duties under the “supreme command” of a woman. Said he:” Whenever I have a sort of request, I usually forward it with optimism and appear with confidence before her. Men are very impatient, but not a woman. I have learned this through experience.”

An engineer is once quoted as saying that “a man talks too much about his achievements, whereas a woman boss does not.”

According to some researches, “a she boss was always ready to accept questions and discuss certain points connected with employees’ private concerns.”

In general, several people are of the opinion and even testify that most women are compassionate, kind and patient.

As regards certain positions, it may not at all be a surprise to see a woman appointed to it. For instance, nobody would really wonder if a woman is named “Minister of Women’s Affairs”.

However, there is one question which appears to me unanswered since a very long time. It is about the portfolio they have, now and again, been appointed to.  Of course, they are compassionate, kind, child-loving etc.  Thus, a woman usually holds office related to education, health, social welfare etc. Why? For example; is she not capable to be appointed as Minister of National Defense? Furthermore, history has testified to the truth that women are also committed fighters.   There were and are gallant, brave heroines having colorful history in the armed struggle for freedom against colonialism, apartheid and whatsoever. Even so, I have not heard a woman with such a portfolio to be a supreme commander of the armed forces.   What about you?

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