In Ghana, some people believe certain jobs are only for men. But some Ghanaian women are starting to do traditionally male work, such as carpentry or jobs that require physical strength. And they are proving that men are not the only ones who can be tough.
Esenam Nyador is one of those women. She is one of three female taxi drivers in Accra. She is also a wife, mother of two and a student at the University of Ghana.
Nyador says she has gotten used to the strange looks she gets when she drives her taxi around town. She calls herself “Miss Taxi.”
She says the loan company and the taxi union originally rejected her when she first began her business.
“They weren’t sure I would even be able to make up sales or have a good business to pay back their car, just because I am a woman. So they were like concerned about whether I wouldn’t be open to car hijacking and they’ll end up losing their assets in the long-term."
Nyador now has regular customers, many of them women. And she is finding creative ways to grow her business.
For example, she books her clients via social media, email or text message. And unlike most male taxi drivers, she charges set prices instead of haggling with her customers.
Selina Adjeley Annan also works in a male-dominated field.
Annan, a single mother, works as an electrician at Teshie. She remembers the day she applied for a job. The company she was applying to took apart a fluorescent tube and asked her to fix it. They took Annan more seriously when they saw that she was able to fix the tube.
Annan says that, now, salesmen have started sending clients to her. Like Nyador, Annan has found that some people would rather work with a woman.
Annan says that when customers see her instead of a male electrician, they are surprised and often say, “I have never seen a woman electrician before.”
All of the people Annan works with are men.
Eric Adjetey Otenkorang is one of her supervisors. He says there are limits to what Annan can do because she is a woman.
Otenkorang says that if “the job is a little bit risky,” he has the men handle it instead of Annan. He explains that some work is too heavy for a woman to do.
Taxi driver Esenam Nyador does not allow talk about women’s limits slow her down. She says men are just used to being the only ones who work in certain jobs.
"It all started with men…so I guess they have developed this sort of entitlement attitude.”
But, Nyador says, that way of thinking is just a habit. She says in reality, there is no such thing as “man’s work.”
I’m Mehrnoush Karimian-Ainsworth.
Words in This Story
haggling – v. to talk or argue with someone especially in order to agree on a price
entitlement – n. the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something: the feeling or belief that you deserve to given something