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In Our Own Words, Standing Up

I was one of only three women projects officers in 1970 working for the Industrial Development Corporation (INDECO) in Lusaka, Zambia, where there were no no other females in management positions at the time in this organization that had 50 subsidiary companies ranging from manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, construction, imports and exports, and retail business. The company policy then was that female employees needed a male co-signatory, such as husband, father, or other male relative to guarantee her car or mortgage loan application to the company. But this policy did not apply to male employees. My friend and colleague (Yvonne, now deceased) was particularly upset by this policy and being single at the time, thought it was ridiculous that she should contact her father (living 500 miles away) to co-sign her loan application. She speerheaded the fight against this policy. Neither did I feel that I should ask my husband at the time, to co-sign my loan application even though he was ready to do so. We took up the issue with management but they dismissed our complaint and challenged us to prove that female employees including "secretaries" and other support staff, or women in retail services that were the majority among female employees, agreed with our position. We had what at first, seemed insurmountable hurdles as we tried to galvanize female employees to sign the petition to change the policy. Some couldn't understand "what all the fuss" was about and said that they had " no problem" getting their husbands or male relatives to guarantee or co-sign for their loan applications. We pointed out that it was a matter of principle and equal rights at the workplace regardless of gender. Finally, we convinced many women in the organization and obtained enough signatures on the petition to have the company change its policy. It was a great day when the first female employees applied for loans and did not have to ask their husbands, fathers, or other male relatives to co-sign or guarantee their loan applications to INDECO.
By Kekelwa Nyaywa

Comments

Beverly Rose's picture

Dear Keinoriya, Forty years

Dear Keinoriya,

Forty years ago you stood up for equal rights for women! How courageous! I have no doubt you have continued to stand up to other issues during these years. Thank you for sharing your story of standing up for women's rights. It was pioneers like yourself who helped pave the way for women to be recognized as their own person. We need more people to stand up 'cause we still have a long way to go!

In peace,
Beverly

keinoriya's picture

In Our Own Words, Standing Up

Dear Beverly,
Thank you for your kind words. We also owed it to women before us that risked their lives or the livelihoods of their families to fight for political independence of our country from colonial rule, and other women in the world that fought for equal voting rights regardless of gender and that we also used as our role models. Best wishes to you and other sisters around the globe in whatever endeavors you are involved in to help women and girls as they fight to improve their status in society. Thanks.
Keinoriya

KeiNyaywa

Kagwii's picture

Inspirational

Wow!its women like you that set out to change the world and actually continue to change it because it starts with challenging patriarchy and discrimination form where we are in any way possible. Thank you for sharing your story with us, even in this age, women can be inspired that anything is possible. I know many women continue to benefit from your act of courage, well done!!
Purity

keinoriya's picture

In Our Own Words, Standing Up

Hello Purity,
Thank you for your kind words. But sharing stories does encourage all of us women to realize that we can stand up for women's rights and empowerment spearhead change for the better. All development indicators prove that it's a win-win situation for communities that embrace that change. Thanks.
Keinoriya

KeiNyaywa

liseli1's picture

You are an example and an

You are an example and an inspiration to all women I was born in 1971 when you were fighting this fight and unfortunately we still have a ways to go but with examples like yours all women everywhere can be inspired to keep fighting the good fight. thank you for your inspiration and your words.
Liseli

keinoriya's picture

In Our Own Words, Standing Up

Dear Liseli,
Thanks you so much. I'm also very proud of you and all you do for others and the responsibilities you've been shouldering. Keep up the good work. Loads of love. Ima/Kuku.
Keinoriya.

KeiNyaywa

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