A lot has been going on in Kenya. One would think that clearing school in Kenya would be your gateway to freedom, success and happiness. No one told me I would spend sleepless nights trying to find myself a financial position in a firm in Nairobi. My life was very well planned out in theory…I would come to a campus in Kenya and score A’s in all my exams. I thought that after school I would directly secure a job as a financial consultant in Kenya. I didn’t think about the interim. I am stuck in a grey area. I don’t know if I was building castles in the air all this time. Should I continue to dream more? I believe I am made for bigger and better. Women in Kenya are making huge strides.
Just recently Total Kenya appointed a woman C.E.O. This is a huge step given that women in Kenya are not represented in the boards of many companies listed in the Nairobi Stock Exchange. We are in an age where the constitution in Kenya favours women and opts for one third representation in these top positions in both the political and corporate arena in Kenya. This is a major step that Kenyans are taking. Women in Kenya are getting emancipated and people are learning to let go of the notion that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. In Kenya, there are more job opportunities especially for women in our society. A woman can do any job that a man in Kenya can do probably even better. Just recently I spoke with Wangui who is a conductor of the P.S.V’s (public Service Vehicles) along the Thika Superhighway in Kenya. I admired her enthusiasm and determination as she went about shouting to the passengers to board the P.S.V. She said, “At first it was challenging since this is a job in Kenya reserved for the men since they are hardy and they can easily usher people into the vehicle by shouting. Later when I got the hang of it, people in Kenya accepted and even commended me for my guts. I love my job since it brings food to the table. Women in Kenya are tough in this day and age”.Here we see a woman who has ignored all the stereotypes in Kenya and the spiteful comments and moved out of her comfort zone. So this is an industry in Kenya infested by male sharks, so what? I will go out there, pioneer a path for those women who are second guessing themselves and wondering if they are good enough. Take a good look around you. Women are no longer confined in the proverbial ‘kitchen walls’. They are too stifling. They are too commonplace.
We only have one life to live and if we let people define how we should live it, we did not LIVE.There is so much in this world that a woman can do and still take care of her kids and family. Women miss out on lobbying for top positions in Kenya because most of these positions are discussed over bars and golf courses. A woman with a family cannot be seen attending these events in Kenya since she has to make dinner, clean up and take care of her children. Women miss out on these positions and only have their papers (qualifications) and determination to help them climb the corporate ladder in Kenya.
Recently, we had an argument with some of my friends in Kenya that if a woman and a man who are equally qualified walk into an interview room, the woman will get the job( especially if she is in a short skirt). Well, while that might be partly true I beg to differ .It is not always that a woman in Kenya will bag a certain job simply because she is a woman. That is a debate for another day. I am still trying to find my niche in Kenya and purpose in these streets. We all have that little voice in our head that tells us that we can do great things. If only we could let go of fear and limitations that the world has set for us.
The hardest time in life is when you have nothing but dreams. Your hands are empty. The hardest thing is to attempt to live the dreams in Kenya when the voices in your head battle with the will to live and burgeon. It is harder when you are a woman in Kenya. It is harder when you don’t know where to start or when you have no skill, networks or resources in Kenya. Think about the prisoner who is digging himself out of the prison walls. Digging through stone walls day by day. It all started with a thought, a dream, and a step. Eventually it all works out and the sooner you start, the sooner you LIVE YOUR DREAM IN KENYA.