Women Can!

Ada Ngoh
Posted March 16, 2009 from Cameroon

I have a colleague who reminds exactly of who I don't want to be in the next ten years of my career. She is married with two kids. She started work as some kind of all round radio reporter and almost ten years after that she is just a radio quiz show host, something she has been doing for the past five years. She comes in every weekday at 9 am and leaves at 1pm. She has not learned anything new in the last eight years. When she started nine years ago, she could do live reports for the radio. Now, she cannot even remember the last time she did a report for the station. She knows next to nothing on new communication technologies. All she cares about is answering hello to quiz callers. She has absolutely no ambition to move forward in her career. And when male colleagues look at her they say "all female journalists should be like this one". This is exactly what I don't to be ten years from now in my career.

To see a bright and talented woman go to waste like my colleague makes me fight like hell to become someone respected in the journalism profession in Cameroon. What really aches me most is the fact that male colleagues think all female journalists should be as unambitious as she is. They always say to the new female colleagues just getting in; "be like this woman. When she started she got married and has two kids and worries nobody". Is that all we are? Worriers that disturb serious people that want to work?

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  • Genice Jacobs
    Mar 16, 2009
    Mar 16, 2009

    I can't really speak about your colleague or her situation or seemingly lack of ambition, as I do not know her. I can certainly appreciate your frustration with the attitude of male colleagues. One think I might add however, is that having children changes you and your priorities and that is not always necessarily a bad thing. Our children deserve a good portion of our creative energy and often times (in my country) we seeing children paying the price of emotional neglect because of their parent's career ambitions. I realize that the US is a very different culture so no judgements on my part any which way. I just thought it might be insightful for you to talk with your colleague and get her perspective. Just some food for thought.

  • Ada Ngoh
    Mar 17, 2009
    Mar 17, 2009

    Like I said, having kids and a family is not a bad thing, it's actually quite good. In my society, the kind of attention you talk about is kind of non existent. I am not sure I know much about your society but judging from what I hear from foreing media and also from friends and relatives over in the US, your society is kind of stressful and kids definitely need all the attention they can get. Now about my colleague, I have spoken to her and like I said, she has absolutely no ambition to progress whatsoever. She does not see why she should do anything new now that she has a husband. Some men here are just like her, lazy. But my point was the fact that men think this is the way women should be in the profession which is crazy, to say the least. While such an attitude in a male colleague would make him a laughing stock at the job site, for a woman it is normal. That is the annoying thing about the situation, not her lack of ambition.