Nigerian, Female and Proud…ish

I am proud to be Nigerian, I am proud to be female. But am I a proud Nigerian female?

Watching King Women ignited a drive in me I thought was lost. It pushed me to ask myself what I can do differently what I can do more. Ruby’s piece on asking your worth further pushed the agenda. But what do we do in a society that ignores your talent because you are young and female? They tell you “you haven’t done your time in the firm” and then you look at those who have apparently “done their time” and they are adding little to the firm but their age or masculinity. Because you are female you have to double your effort to get same remuneration and promotion as a male counterpart. Looking around so many firms, it’s appalling the disproportionate numbers of male to female at the top. Granted some women don’t aspire to get to the top and their dedication to the work show it but I wonder could some of these be because they know in the society we are in it’s wasted effort? Or have they been instilled with the belief certain roles are not for females? And at best, hard work just lets you keep a job? A friend abroad once said she can’t come home just yet; the why was simple – “As a young female I won’t get what I deserve”. So she stays abroad and climbs the corporate ladder…

I am proud to be Nigerian. I am proud to be female. Again I ask am I a proud female Nigerian? How can I be proud when my own country belittles my being female? With the expectation I should always remember I am less than a man?

Asking For Your Worth

My post yesterday on knowing your worth is pointless without this post.

The second aspect to Casey Brown’s TED talk is about asking for your worth, either by demanding a higher salary as an employee or increasing your pricing as a business owner.

I’m going to share my own experience of “asking for my worth”…in Nigeria.

I work for a relatively large foreign company in Nigeria, I’ve had the same role for close to five years now. I’m very good at my job. I can say this confidently because its tech and you can see when things work and how well they work.

Anyways, I was going through a phase where I felt stuck in every aspect of my life and I decided my career is one aspect I should be able to have total control over. So after a lot of thinking I went to my boss and said I was tired of not being compensated for my hard work because of “the financial situation of the company”. I demanded a promotion and a pay increase and I made it clear that I would resign if my requirements weren’t met. *brave*

I’m giving the credit of this bravery to Lean In.

My boss didn’t want this so he spoke to the Directors and they asked me to come in for a meeting. At the meeting I was very clear with my demands, I even gave an exact figure for my new salary. It went a lot better than I expected. The Directors decided to double my current salary (it was never really much to start with) and offered a promotion as well. It felt really good.

Well, this was about 3 months ago. Neither has been done. Just different stories and reassurances.

I really wanted this to be an inspiring post, but this is just the reality of life.

I’m still working for the same company in the hopes that somehow they’ll keep to their promises. But to be honest, I’m spending most of my time looking for other opportunities.

Know your worth, ask for it. You might not get it the first time around or ever. But ask anyways.