By Wasima Abu Backer – 12.5.19
I am a a proud mother of three beautiful kids, a loving wife and a small business owner. But as much as I am respected by my community and the Malaysian society for my achievements on the former two, me being a businesswoman not only raises eyebrows but also provides me with multiple encounters with chauvinism: service providers keep on asking to speak with my husband, while referring to myself as the secretary or the assistant; when trying to hire new workers, men are intimidated from working for a woman, feeling that it might hurt their masculinity. Banks also tend to discredit me and refrain from providing me with monetary services.
However, for me it is most disturbing how women treat each other in the workplace: instead of supporting other female-owned businesses and female workers, we keep on looking at the workplace as a men’s world: instead of promoting a more flexible schedule that supports mothers that need to balance work and taking care of their kids, we keep the 9-17 schedule; instead of creating a positive and supporting environment for women, we refrain from hiring capable women over men, thinking it might make our business look less professional. We are being scared that men might consider every new hiring or promotion of women as biased, instead of standing up for our fellow sisters, and realizing that men promote their fellow men too.
Let’s try to create more solidarity and friendship between women, because no man will advocate for our benefit. That way we can all achieve a better working environment.