Chris

Namibia. My friend and I started a small business together, we are both women and want to succeed at making this work. By the conventions of our society we are also considered young and most people prefer to call us girls rather than women. This is despite the fact that we are past our mid twenties. Much of what we do involves one on one conversations with individuals. On a daily basis we are confronted by men who recognise all of these factors as an opportunity to take advantage of us. Because we want the business to succeed they know we will not push back when their behaviour becomes inappropriate. Because we are young women they think it is appropriate to give advice despite their total ignorance of what it is we do. My business partner recently pushed back and walked away from a particularly toxic conversation. I was incredibly proud of her but at the same time I was left to try and patch things up with this man, his response was to tell me to tell her not to be so sensitive. I tried to explain to him what the problem was. He responded with anger and told me that we would never succeed in our business because we are too emotional. I eventually walked away as well. I am glad that we stood firm but I also know that this man likely will never work with us again and we have lost business this way. If this was an isolated incident it would be fine but to be honest our interactions with men tend to all veer in this direction and I am worried that there is no way to succeed in this environment that does not see us sacrificing our dignity.