Since the beginning of March, we have heard from several women about celebrating Women’s Month. Many of these women spoke of the challenges they endured and the sacrifices they had to make to balance their lives. According to a businesswoman and the first female CEO and President of Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL), was on The Business Perspective Show this morning where she spoke about opportunities for women.
Kay Menzies, CEO, BECOL: “I think one of the things is that we as women need to remind everyone that nothing is impossible. For girls in school right now, there is no door that is closed to you if you want to walk through it and so often, for example, the energy sector is very heavy on engineering and technical skills , etc., and people often think it’s only for guys and girls go to school and they think, it’s only for guys and it’s not. And I think it’s a perfect month, thanks for the invite actually, I think it’s a perfect month for me to come on this show, run an energy company, the only woman in this role, and showing that no it’s actually entirely possible for a woman to do certain things that we consider the stereotypical role of a man. Especially in Belize, we have such a small population that we cannot place people in stereotypical niches. If you have any special skills, go ahead and use them. That’s the whole story. If you want to build a country of this size with a population of this size, everyone has to be on deck and wherever you can, whether you’re hoisting the sails or steering the ship or whatever, use your skills, wherever it goes.”
According to Menzies, she thinks the idea of specific roles for women is just mind conditioning and not impossible to change.
Kay Menzies, CEO, BECOL: “I think it’s partly conditioned, I mean, the return to childhood. Deon, you’re a new dad. You know when your child decides what to play with I hope you let him go but there are parents who say oh no boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls and if the little boy catches a doll, oh no something’s wrong with him and, you know. Kids have to be kids and then adults have to follow their passions and often it kind of comes from this adult perspective of, well, you want to be a firefighter? You can’t be a firefighter. You are a girl so go ahead. I remember years ago we were looking at job skills and the women were taking courses in cake decorating while the men were doing car repairs and then I was so excited later to find out that ITVET at Orange Walk was doing air conditioning repairs and how do I know? Because I met women who were in the AC repair class. Stereotypes, I think, are so insidious that we don’t notice them until someone can say, but why? And then the discussion begins.