Women on higher ground
By Macilyne Chitepo
I AM no longer accepting the things I cannot change … I’m changing the things I cannot accept ―Angela Davis, an American philosopher, academic and author.
Gwendolyn Brooks, another author, poet and teacher weighed in: “Do not desire to fit in. Desire to oblige yourselves to lead”.
Zimbabwean women are fast and furiously doing just that. As the world has been shaken by Covid-19, women from all walks of life have demonstrated a resolve and tenacity reminiscent of the bravery of gallant female cadres during any liberation struggle. Women have mastered the art of surviving and thriving in the ever changing business world.
This week I want to celebrate the women who are behind these great women whom we see on the front pages of newspapers and magazines all the time. Behind these women we have silent voices, the unseen guest to most conversations. We have the hairdressers, beauticians, health and fitness instructors, our helpers at home who, by the way, I hate to call maids because I was not brought up like that.
Hairdressers: Most women believe that “life is too short to have boring hair”. And it is indeed true because we all need to invest in our hair as “it is the crown you never take off”. If you have good hair, you will rule the world. Hair needs to be perfect as it reflects your personal brand. Following on my article “Perceptions of the colours you wear” published in February in which I emphasised the need to know one’s organisational corporate culture, hair styles also should adhere to the set standards of the organisation.
Most firms do not allow bright colours, thus you need to tone down on your style. This can only be achieved if you have a hairdresser or a barber who ‘knows’your brand. We have so many good salons in town and the most important thing every woman can have, next to talent/career of course, is her hairdresser. So do not think we do not see you guys, we acknowledge, love and respect you for creating these strong brands.
Health & fitness instructors: In one of my articles titled “Invest In Yourself” I touched on the importance of health and fitness. A big shout out goes to all the health and fitness instructors who give advice to all the women and help them with their daily exercise routines.
Most business executives have intense exercise regimes with the help of health and fitness instructors. The business world is like a jungle with a lot of hard decisions to be made and for executives to survive the pressure, they need to be in the right frame of mind. You cannot quit once you have started the race and because your body is your most priceless possession, you need to take good care of it. In the business world, there are no shortcuts and one has to create a better and stronger version of oneself hence the need to celebrate these very important people who work behind the scenes to ensure we live healthier lifestyles.
Boutique entrepreneurs: Did you know that what you wear defines your personal brand? As women we need to start cultivating a great personal brand through first impressions. Personal branding is a huge topic that I will tackle some other time. Today, we just need to acknowledge the women who work behind the scenes helping us build our different brands and these are the boutique entrepreneurs.
They dish out tips and advice on how to build a wardrobe and the right outfits for the right function. I see quite a lot of groups on Facebook that groom women on confidence and choosing the right type of clothes. Ladies, I just want to thank you for being our inspiration.
Helpers: I once had a boss who used to tell me “once you do not have order in your life, you are likely to pass on your disorder to me”. Thus, she expected me as executive assistant to maintain high standards in the office. The same applies to our helpers at home. I want to give a big shout out to these silent voices who work behind the scenes.
Imaging the boss walking into the boardroom with a shirt with two shades of white and a blazer without a button or with two lines on his trousers (mupono). Helpers play a very essential part in our lives. They are consistently there for us and our children. We survive and thrive in the business world because we know back home we have a helper who is managing everything. I salute our home helpers and wish I could change their designation to managers because that is exactly what they are to us.
Conclusion: Besides all these women I have saluted above, I want to salute our mothers, aunties, grandmothers who used to or who wake up at 3am to catch buses to Mbare Musika navigating through police roadblocks to order vegetables to sell for the family to survive.