Gone are the days when a woman’s capability was limited to the kitchen walls and being house wives. The narration has changed over the years and women have made their voices heard, taking up space in all spheres of influence.
Today women can serve as Presidents as Members of Parliament as well as Chief Executive Officers. Offices which were only dominated or deemed fit for men. Whether or not women who hold powerful position are a threat to men, no one can say for sure but there are a handful of men who can’t stand a woman’s tenacity, zeal and power. So much so that they end up trying by all means to pull them down.
While that is the case with some men, some find powerful women smart and mostly attracted to them. While some men may find it a bitter pill to swallow that their women bring home the bread, there are a few rare bred men who go over and beyond for women in powerful positions, helping them in any way they can.
In a study led by Ekaterina Netchaeva, Ph.D., at Bocconi University in Italy, Netchaeva concluded that from an unjustified manhood theory, that when a woman occupies a superior organizational role, men in subordinate positions experience it as a threat, which leads them to behave more assertively towards her and advocate for themselves.
Status is not the only thing that make men feel threatened and inferior; gender and status kills their manhood. This also because they prefer to be pushy in the work place. “Clearly, this is problematic for the many talented, determined women trying to break through the glass ceiling — or simply earn a living,” said the study.
In an interview with WeekendPostsome women have admitted to have experienced being pulled down by men. Makgato Malesu is one of the most powerful women, who said that at some point men questioned how she made it to the top. But that did not stop her from soaring. Today she serves in the highest position in international community.
Being a leading Creative Entrepreneur, Masego Manyaapelo said she had experienced intimidations by men who were her clients. Which she said it was a bizarre combination of sexism and chauvinism.
“More women are holding positions of power and influence in the workspace. This is something that has become the new norm. Men are finding it exceptionally difficult to accept the reality that women are just as competent and sometimes even more than they are. Women climb the corporate ladder faster because they have a lot more to prove and a lot more to lose than their counterparts. For this reason, men are intimidated by the ‘new normal’ in the workplace,” Manyaapelo said.
While some men have evolved with time and are now at ease with the dynamics about women in leadership some men have come to esteem women who hold strong positions. Currently leading as Communications Manager at MassMart, a holding company for trading brands like Game Stores, Builders World, Jumbo, Makro, Cambridge and many more, Tinabo Majaye highlighted that she had never been intimidated by her male counterparts.
“As a young hardworking and ambitious woman who was born and raised in Botswana but working in South Africa’s highly competitive corporate world, gender based power imbalances in the work place have never been an issue for me. I personally have never had judgement in my areas of expertise, questioned nor have I ever had to provide more evidence of my competence than my male counterparts,” she said.
“This is largely attributable to having worked with modern, liberal and progressive men who believe in the advancement of women in the workplace based on their credentials, capabilities and work ethic.” Senior Human Resource Manager at De Beers Matlhogonolo Mponang, has served in different leadership roles which she has executed with utmost excellence and without batting an eye. Mponang begs to differ that men are intimidated by women in powerful positions.
“I think it is unfair to single out men within a general population of varied people. I think I have made people uncomfortable, not because they were male and I was female but simply because I have such a strong personality and I have never had a problem with speaking truth to power, as long as I believed the truth served a greater good and represented my values. As for intimidation. I think people in general are intimidated but anything different from them- especially if the person in question is generally not comfortable with change,” she said.
“I have definitely at some points in my professional life felt that there were waves of subjugation but it was not from any one demographic and it wasn’t always from my superiors. Being radical and transformational means that you will sometimes meet with violent or non-violent opposition. It is not so much a construct of gender or more specifically about men being intimidated by women. It is a human and universal reaction to anything that challenges the status quo.”
MEN’S OPINIONS ABOUT POWERFUL WOMEN
“Truth is women in leadership positions or even those who are just doing well for themselves intimidate men. We say it’s not so and we want our women to do great things but one thing that shows the intimidation is how men fear approaching such women to ask them out. Men question their abilities when they see such, if they are their types, if they can maintain them and if her independence won’t degrade their masculinity,” Joseph Pharatlhatlhe said, a teacher by Profession.
“I don’t know the statistics but I’m pretty sure a good number of women in leadership stay single for a long time lest some male superior to them comes into the picture or the lady herself brings herself down to point of asking a man out or even dating younger men. Ladies most of the time are like slay queens, they are very choosy and when they let you down they hurt your ego big time because it would have taken a lot for you to approach.”
Transformational Speaker, Uyapoh Letus also attested to the fact that some men find it hard to stand a woman who is powerful and have her game together. “It is really about cultural background and our upbringing. In our society almost every person grew up knowing that men kind of hold the high position. Men are considered most powerful and that he comes first. Everyone grows up in this believe. As we grow in this cooperate spaces. We take these believes to our work place,” he said.
“It is so difficult for some men accept having a lady leading them in an organisation. They find it very difficult to take instruction from them. They also find it difficult to believe that a woman is leading them. Lawrence Ookeditse an independent researcher and Convener of the Botswana Jobs Summit, also a former Director of Youth/Policy Specialist for the Government of Botswana in the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture Development when quizzed said, it is an issue of power itself.
“The power dynamics have been shaped in a very realistic, survival and self-preservation orientated. Meaning everyone who wants power, they go out for the kill because they also want to survive. It is about being in the position to take over. The problem is power itself, because power is public good. I don’t think it is a case of men intimidated by women particularly. Men are also intimidated by other men. Human beings are naturally self-interested,” he said.
“Women who hold powerful positions usually perform well. That I think we could look into a comprehensive study. The key thing also is we must create space for fairness, competitiveness that it should not matter whether you are a men or a woman.
It should be about merit and it should ensure that artificial barriers are removed for women to be able to participate to reach their full potential. The problem is there are often barriers for entry for women. That limit them from participating like men. The system has been rigged and the system needs to be fixed.”
The month of June marks a time of celebration and reflection for the LGBTQ+ community and allies. LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. These terms are used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
This year, LGBTQ+ allies and corporate companies joined in the celebration and developed new initiatives to support the vulnerable group. On the 1st of June 2021, Botswana’s diamond mining company, Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), launched a new project dubbed the Real You Network.
This is a platform that creates a safe, inclusive, supportive and welcoming workplace for LGBTQ+ employees to allow them to bring their whole selves to work every day and work to their full potential.
The company stresses and prides its self in coming up with projects that make it the best place for people to thrive in their truest selves, something that is in their inclusion and diversity calendar.
When speaking during the virtual launch of Real You Network, DTCB Senior Human Resources Manager, Stella Moetse said “we will reach success when the talent that we have here in the glass house represents all the different people we have in our society, especially the minorities; and these are people living with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ and not only having them, but in positions of influence and decision making. This will be the true measure of inclusion.”
In September 2017, De beers announced a three-year partnership with United Nations Women; an arm of the United Nations dedicated to Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls.
As part of this partnership, the group committed to taking a holistic and long term approach to promoting gender equality within the business and communities. DTCB says, the commitment in its group has gone beyond gender to create an inclusive workplace for all.
“Because of this commitment to promote and support an inclusive workplace, DTCB which is part of the De Beers group resolved to be inclusive in its approach. As a result, we have elevated inclusion and diversity to Board level reporting. We promote awareness through training our employees on identified inclusion and diversity topics such as anti-bullying and harassment, unconscious bias and inclusive hiring.”
Moetse applauded and appreciated the role that advocacy groups for LGBTQ+ play in pursuit of their rights in society, indicating that it is not an easy task for them to given societal orientations. “It is commendable however, how they are constantly challenging us to break down any preconceptions, removing structural and societal barriers and biases.”
Technical Services Senior Manager, Prudence Mabua, shared the same sentiments, saying that LGBTQ+ persons face obstacles when it comes to accessing many of their rights, including their right to social protection.
The Real You Network, will allow for an environment of openness and promote a culture of a fully inclusive network open to all colleagues regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, she said.
“Through events such as this one, our vision is to continue creating platforms that allow for employees and individuals to share lived experiences as this is key in increasing understanding, tolerance and acceptance,” Mabua highlighted.
“There is significant ignorance and resistance to the reality of the existence of LGBTQ+ community in Botswana. While people may not have the intention to be homophobic, the language they use is often offensive. This increases the fear of coming out as people are scared of being subjected to judgement and discrimination.”
Uncovering the main objectives of the Real You Network, Mabua stressed that the platform will enable DTCB to be visible in its consciousness of LGBTQ+ matters and allegiance of the community, hold conversations to sensitize its workforce on LGBTQ+ inclusion and challenge policies and procedures as well as attracting and retaining qualified people of the LGBTQ+ community.
Further, the Network will focus on sustainability and accountability, by achieving continuity by treating inclusion and diversity as a culture not events. It will also focus on acceptance of diversity and ensuring zero discrimination culture within the organization.
Meanwhile, a study conducted in 2020 by Asher and Lyric indicates that most African countries still criminalize and stigmatize LGBTQ+ practices. These countries are anti-homosexuality and protection of LGBTQ+ person’s rights is minimal.
Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Maldives, Uganda, Iran, West Bank and Gaza, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Yemen, UAE, Qatar, Jamaica, Oman, Malawi, Malaysia as well as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are some of the countries of the world which criminalizes homosexuality. Nigeria is the only country in the world with cruel treatment of LGBTQ+ persons.
In Nigeria, homosexuality receives up to 14 years in prison, and at most times the death penalty. In some of these countries, discussions of LGBTQ+ rights and gender expression are criminalized, flogging can occur for cross dressing, and homosexual intercourse receives 6 months to 3 years in prison.
Pro-LGBTQ+ organizations are sometimes barred, imitating the opposite sex can result in prison time and buggery receives up to 10 years in prison and hard labour.
Nonetheless, there are other countries (mostly from the West) which promote and protect the LGBTQ+ community. These countries legalized same-sex marriages, protect the community against discrimination, criminalizes LGBTQ+ violence, implement transgender legal identity laws and are safe places for LGBTQ+ persons to live in.
These are: Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, Portugal, Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain, Uruguay, Norway, France, Iceland, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Austria, Finland, Ireland and the United States.
Botswana once had a story love affair with the world’s biggest premium beauty pageant, Miss Universe. This was in 1999 when Botswana’s first representative at Miss Universe, Mpule Kwelagobe, effortlessly snatched the title.
It was every contestant’s beautiful dream to wear the crown, but winning at first entry was implausible if not magical. Kwelagobe made the country contented, and history was made. Taking a closure significant look at her performance at the Miss Universe held at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, Kwelagobe battled it out on and off stage with 84 contestants and showed them dust. She was in the Top 5 spot with South Africa, Venezuela, Philippines and Spain. There are countries which snatch the Miss Universe title every year.
Miss Universe 2019 was a South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi. Mpule Kwelagobe scorecard looked pretty remarkable. She scored 9.05 out of 10 on her interviews, 9.18 swimsuit, 9.36 evening gown, semi-final average 9.19 and 9.48 on the Top 5 question. These results were good enough to earn her the crown.
However, over the years (since the crowning of Mpule Kwelagobe), Botswana has been fading away from participating at the Miss Universe. Between 2002 and 2003, the country did not participate in Miss Universe but in 2004, the country sent a winning title of Miss Universe Botswana to Ecuador, Miss Universe 2004.
In 2010, Mos Syde Worldwide Entertainment Group: an international entertainment and fashion company domiciled in Botswana took over the Miss Universe Botswana pageant after a six-year absence. Tirelo Ramasedi was crowned Miss Universe Botswana 2010, and represented the country in Las Vegas on August 23. As it is right now, Ramasedi is the only former Miss Universe queen still keen in having her name shine out there: she works closely on projects aimed at empowering women and young girls.
Sadly so, 2013 was the last time Botswana participated in Miss Universe. After five years of not participating at Miss Universe pageant, the first Miss Universe Botswana Mpule Kwelagobe took over the franchise. The winner selection of Miss Universe Botswana 2019 was to remark Botswana to Miss Universe 2019, however, was cancelled.
2019 marked another possible six years since Botswana lacked participation in Miss Universe. This drastic zero participation in this premium beauty competition paved way for our neighbours South Africa to sail smoothly at the competition. Zozibini Tunzi became an instant global queen and everyone’s favourite after displaying intelligence, poise and taking up space to be crowned Miss Universe 2019.
The pageant was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19. This will be the third time in the history of the competition in which the event will be held after the calendar year has ended: this previously occurred during Miss Universe 2014 and Miss Universe 2016 (in which Botswana was not participating).
Miss Universe Organization announced early this year that the competition would be held on May 16 2021, at Seminole Hard rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, United States. Zozibini Tunzi will crown her successor at this competition.
Botswana, will not be participating at the Miss Universe 2020, again. The weakening Miss Universe Botswana has been attributed to by internal fights within the organization. But why participate at Miss Universe?
The Miss Universe Organization is a global, inclusive organization that celebrates women of all cultures and backgrounds and empowers them to realize their goals through experiences that build self-confidence and create opportunities for success.
Women participate annually to affect positive change personally, professionally and philanthropically as inspirational leaders and role models. The delegates and titleholders that have participated in the MUO system are able to cultivate their personal, professional and philanthropic goals. These women are forward thinking and motivated not just talk about change, but to initiate it.
Prominent beauty pageants analyst in Botswana Morekolodi Smith took Weekendlife in an exclusive interview that it has been so many years of absence from participating at Miss Universe, and this shows that Botswana lacks consistency and commitment.
“The franchise holders fail to host a national pageant. I think they should hand over the license to Miss Botswana Organization because it hosts the pageant annually. Then the winner gets to participate in both Miss World and Miss Universe. They can maybe crown two representatives. Botswana has faded away from Miss Universe platform and fans have forgotten about it,” he said in an interview on Thursday.
Pranks, for a common man, is designated to the 1st of April- April fool’s day. Usually it’s the only day out of the entire 365 days one can make a fool of others and get away with practically anything, anything legal that is.
While there are fanatics who do it for amusement, there are some who do it to earn their daily bread and butter. Some obviously saw a niche to keep people fascinated especially in these emotionally straining times of COVID-19. For the record, they don’t play ordinary cards as you may think.
Their pranks are as big and as real as marriage wrecking and all the drama that comes along with it. Given Carter is not just your ordinary boy next door. The Tonota born prankster is currently taking the entire country on an emotional rollercoaster from the comfort of his home in Francistown.
At only 32-years, Carter BW’s skills of planning and executing a prank is what sets him apart from the rest. In fact one can go as far as to say that he’s the only prankster Batswana know.His ideas are unique and relevant, telling a tale that someone can sit and think about, perhaps learn from it because they are everyday life happenings that most people can relate to because they have a way of really hitting home.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, the versatile Given Carter (who is also a photographer) says the inspiration behind pranking was to introduce something not so common in Botswana, and challenge typecasts associated with art, especially modern art.
“Growing up, we only saw pranks on the television dominantly done by the whites. We never thought this is something we can do, or maybe we didn’t understand the logic behind it. But I guess, pranks are real life lessons we need, its only that they are shared in a more hilarious and sometimes obstinate way,” he said.
Given Carter told this publication that, he spends most of his time on the internet, learning more tricky skills. This is quite a remarkable observation because in this era of advanced technology, one doesn’t necessarily have to go to school to learn from the grassroot. The use of technology has made it easier for people to acquire skills and knowledge, and still do exceptionally well without being in class.
“Of course, a bit of it is common sense but I make use of the internet to learn more on how I can improve my craft. It is quite unpretentious to do a prank because they are real-life situations, so its not much of a big deal. I needed people to learn and I think I came at the right time because most people are online, and the reception is just incredible.”
He however shed light on his first video shot in Shakawe that went viral, subsequently leading to speculations of his crew’s arrest. Given Carter was however not arrested instead he was brought before the police for questioning.
“We were not arrested as people may think. We were called to write statements on what the prank was all about and we were released the same day. I believe maybe we went too far in what we depicted in the video because it’s something that the society is not yet ready to accept, but it has been happening for a long time,” he told WeekendLife.
In many Western countries, pranksters do this for a living through YouTube accounts and subscriptions. “As it is currently, I do not have a YouTube channel. I am still building a platform and I’m certain very soon it will be up and running. I am primarily focused on taking my craft to the people, and let people know more about what I do. So technically, it has been about familiarising people with the art.”
Even though that’s the case, Given Carter says there is room for paid partnerships and endorsements. After all, there is an entire crew which need money to pay the bills. He says with so much ideas spinning in his head, there is need for financial support to be able to dish out more seeing that people love his works and how realistic his pranks are.