This women’s month (and every other month too), we are celebrating all of the strong women at Equator – the Belt Factory™. In light of this, we’ve profiled five women from our office and factory, with some insight into what they love about being a woman, and what advice they can share with other women who find themselves in a male-dominated industry or position. 

 

BERYL:

Position: Despatch Clerk. I’m in charge of making sure goods get delivered to the customer on time.
Time at Equator: 10 years

What are some of the challenges or highlights you have faced as a woman in a typically male-dominated job role? The biggest challenge is being able to juggle multiple tasks at once. You have to know what every customer requires at all times for all products. Customer focus is key. (Also keeping emotions out of your day-to-day functions).
What advice do you have for other women who may find themselves in a similar situation as you? Know your customer, manage expectations, know your product. Be professional at all times.

What do you love about being a woman? That we have the ability to be working women (mothers) who also manage our families.

 

 

MICHELLE:

Position: Product Sourcing and Development. I am currently the link between sales/customer and the factory. My day-to-day generally consists of sourcing raw materials, innovating with our suppliers, negotiating and building relationships,  costing of developments and ensuring our QA process is executed correctly and in a timeous fashion. I am a member of our PRODEX team (production excellence and innovation), export division and licensed products.

Time at Equator: 5 years

What are some of the challenges or highlights you have faced as a woman in a typically male-dominated job role? This is very much a job you learn from the ground level up. Don’t shy away, jump right in and get your hands dirty. Yes we may be in a niche category, and it is challenging work to get right (leather specifically), but very exciting and diverse.  And while the industry is heavily male-dominated (with some of the nicest guys I know) we are seeing a shift, and our company proudly employs 60% women. 

What advice do you have for other women who may find themselves in a similar situation as you? Most importantly we cannot let this level of craftmanship die in our country.  It is our duty to keep it alive. Be willing to learn and embrace the knowledge that senior management can impart. 

What do you love about being a woman? Honestly being a mom is the best thing about being a woman. We give life to the world. That’s pretty HUGE!

 

 

NTEBOHENG:

Position: Belt production: staining. I work on staining the edge of the belt, making sure it is done properly and with no dirt on top of the belt. 

Time at Equator: 10 years

What are some of the challenges or highlights you have faced as a woman in a typically male-dominated job role? Even though sometimes it is hard, I apply the love to what I’m doing in order for me to do it well. I’m proud of my job because through it I became a bread winner at home.

What advice do you have for other women who may find themselves in a similar situation as you? My advise they must put God first. They must believe in themselves and apply the love in what they are doing.

What do you love about being a woman? What I like about being a woman is that women are courageous, they do not need anyone for them to live, they know how to stand up for themselves. Women are hard workers.

 

 

SHANTAL:

Position: Accounting and bookkeeping. I oversee the recording of financial transactions and am involved at a senior level in all other financial affairs of the business.

Time at Equator: 6 months

What are some of the challenges or highlights you have faced as a woman in a typically male-dominated job role? The accounting industry has become more of a female-dominated industry in recent times. Previously, I worked at an accounting firm that was 90% female so coming to Equator was a bit of an adjustment but working with people of different genders, backgrounds and mindsets has expanded my world view.

What advice do you have for other women who may find themselves in a similar situation as you? Don’t limit yourself. Be curious, ask questions and never settle.

What do you love about being a woman? The ability to multi-task.

 

 

PROMISE:

Position: Belt production: Size cutting / punching machine operator

Time at Equator: 4 years

What are some of the challenges or highlights you have faced as a woman in a typically male-dominated job role? I’ve found that men get intimidated by me. It is hard to fit in because “as a woman I should be working with other women”. So I think my biggest challenge has been stereotypes. The highlights of the job do outweigh the challenges though. Being the only woman in a very male-dominated position makes me believe more in gender equalization. Through doing what I do, I’ve seen more women step out of their comfort zones and trying new things.  For example, a machine they’ve always wanted to try operating. So in a sense I’m an influencer and it is very heart-warming to feel I’ve helped someone step up even just a bit.

What advice do you have for other women who may find themselves in a similar situation as you? Firstly pray for God to lead you and stand your ground. It is important to believe in your strength. Take criticism gracefully, observe and never stop believing in yourself. 

What do you love about being a woman? What I love about being a woman is that we women find strength from pain, we don’t lose hope easily. We may feel sad or frustrated but our heels remain on. That’s leadership right there.