Kofi Amoabeng was right to doubt the authenticity of a 1st Class status of a beautiful Ghanaian woman

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 In an ironic way, Prince Kofi Amoabeng, founder and Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank was quite right in his cynicism about the authenticity of the First class qualification status of a beautiful woman who applies for a job in Ghana. In fact, I think he is fully justified in his suspicion. 

Are you angered by this declaration? Have I stirred up strong emotions with my stance? If I have succeeded, then I am pleased. Please hang with me while I explain my reason for this stand.

Kofi Amoabeng made a true statement but he did not articulate it properly. He missed a key ingredient to the elements that led to his conclusion . He should have phrased it this way.

“We, the men, who wield power in eradicating the social economic and financial roadblocks  most women face have exploited this power to the extent that, I used to tell people that if you are a woman and come to apply for a job with a 1st Class and you are VERY BEAUTIFUL, I suspect the [authenticity] of the First Class. So we have to find a way to test whether it is genuine or not.”

He could have also said:

Most men have successfully created the unfortunate situation and an environment where a beautiful woman has to worry about a university professor soliciting sex in exchange for good grades. This situation is so bad that I used to tell people that if you are a woman and come to apply for a job with a 1st Class and you are VERY BEAUTIFUL, I suspect the [authenticity] of the First Class. So we have to find a way to test whether it is genuine or not.”

 He could have also put it yet another way:

“Most men have succeeded in creating a generation of women who are desensitized to  sexual harassment that most beautiful women face frequently in the universities and ultimately, their search for employment. To the women it is as if it is to be expected. This harassment is so prevalent that I used to tell people that if you are a woman and come to apply for a job with a 1st Class and you are VERY BEAUTIFUL, I suspect the [authenticity] of the First Class. So we have to find a way to test whether it is genuine or not.”

few weeks ago, while out to lunch with a lady friend in Accra, she received a text message. A cynical smile crept on her face as she read it. She nonchalantly placed the phone down and proceeded to sip on her drink. I asked her the reason for that smile. Her response was Oh, its something someone I recently interviewed with for a job sent me. My curiosity got the better part of me and so I asked what the message was about.  She was gracious enough to show it to me. It was an x rated clip and the text attached read, I want to hire you. But first, can we do this? I was stopped dead in my tracks! I was equally baffled by her nonchalant reaction. “Oh, this is normal. She explained with a smile. It happens to my friends and I almost every time in our job search in Accra.

I am not going to compare how female job seekers are treated abroad versus how they are treated in Ghana. A comparison is not needed or warranted in this case. I want to speak more about pure decency and the genuine desire to consider a fellow human being for her abilities rather than our need for pleasure. 

 Men are the cause of this deplorable state of affairs. I am not excluding myself neither am I excusing myself from the fact that, some men have made it acceptable in our society for a female to think that it is normal for an employer to solicit sex in exchange for a job.  I am not excusing myself from our failure as men to protect our women from these shameful practices. To be respectful of our women and their abilities. To treat our Queens with the dignity they deserve in the education and employment sphere. No, I cannot excuse myself when we have spurned a generation of women to expect that a male employer may not offer her a job if she refuses to sleep with him.

I refuse to ask how some men will feel if their daughters or sisters were subjected to the same treatment. I refuse to ask that male employer who sent the video clip to my friend how it would feel if I sent the same clip with the same proposition  to his daughter or sister. I refuse to ask because the approach of asking men to consider their sisters, daughters and mothers while they exploit women does not work.

The only true change to how poorly women are treated in the education and employment sphere will come when the men gather the courage to speak up about this problem. The true change will come when the men stand up and declare that this practice of placing our women in a position to choose between sleeping with a male employer and a job is absolutely sickening!

My friend Abena Tenkorang was absolutely right when she stated, “In a country where you will hustle before finding a proper job, how many women will expose a boss who demands sex?” There is a bigger argument to be made about an economic system which offers few employment outlets to an applicant pool five times the size of the available opportunities.  Given this insurmountable situation most young women face landing a decent job, should some of us men add to their woes by exploiting them for sex? Don’t these young women suffer enough in this patriarchal society?

Kofi Amoabeng is right. As a man, he knows the torture a beautiful woman has to endure in her interactions with some male university professors. He understands the powerful temptations of using her body for a 1st class status. He is smart enough to know that a woman, most of the time, does not willingly offer herself to a man twice her age  for good grades. He knows that even if she does offers herself first iexchange for a favor, it is most of the time a last ditch effort or a decision made out of desperation. 

My personal wakeup call came about 15 years ago while I was a college student. In a heated argument with my then girlfriend who just arrived from Ghana a month prior, it came to light how she acquired a visa. She disclosed how she had to close her eyes and picture my face while a big burly man was profusely sweating on top of her for about an hour.  Her desire for a better life abroad, a life with me and to provide for her family led her to make such a decision. She did not make this decision lightly.  After months of holding off this man who held the key to a better life abroad, she gave in after she came home one day to find her mum, brothers and sisters outside their residence with all their belongings. The landlord had kicked them out for non payment of rent. This is a decision that she profoundly regrets every single dayThat particular day,  my eyes were opened as a man to the deplorable state in which we have placed our women. I knew then that there was a better approach. An approach where we treat our women with kindness and dignity.

If you thought my take on this matter is exaggerated, I will like you to read the piece below from Maame Adwoa, a dear friend of mine.

Kwadjo Panyin has touched on a sensitive yet important topic. Sexual harassment against women is entrenched in our society. It occurs in the workplace, in our educational institutions and infact in everyday encounters.  The scenarios Kwadjo recounted are personal experiences of his female compatriots, myself included. Allow me to share some of my personal experiences with you.

I had the unfortunate experience of failing a paper in the course of my studies at the tertiary level. I had to retake the paper and guess what, I failed once again because I refused to “go see” the lecturer in question.

The thought of a bald headed man my father’s age if not older making a pass at me behind closed doors was simply revolting! I paid a price for my ‘insolence’.

I was lucky to pass narrowly on the third try but my grade point average (GPA) took a hit. One can only imagine what my final GPA would have been had I gone through a few more such experiences.

Post graduation I landed a marketing job. I recall holding my breath and saying a prayer every time I had an appointment alone with a male client or a potential male client. Depending on what I was faced with ranging from flirting to groping, I had to quickly conjure an exit strategy. This was quite frequent and after a while it does put a damper on a woman’s drive to excel on the job.  

I do not need to bore you with more harrowing stories to drive home a point.  While some of us were, are or have been fortunate to have an excellent support system that makes it easier to  reject or ward off such demeaning advances, there is a greater number of women who have not been so fortunate. These unfortunate women have had to yield to such propositions to make a grade or get and keep a job necessary for survival.  

It is in this light that I join Kwadjo Panyin in the call to our men, to appeal to their conscience. That they stand up and speak up against this unfortunate trend. It is in their power to do so for their wives , for their sisters, for their nieces,for their daughters, for the queens of the nation. As it is in every story, the coin can be flipped. There are some men facing similar situation at the hands of female employers. It is only right to speak out against this too. 

Edmund Burke sums this beautifully in his quote “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Kwadjo Panyin & Maame Adwoa..

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Author: Kwadjo Panyin

Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.

10 Comments

  1. ebenezer codjoe says:

    no comment

  2. Yaw says:

    Great read. You rightly nailed the nail right on its head with Edmund Burkes’ quote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Cheers.

  3. Rahman says:

    It may sound offensive to some but that’s exactly how I see most women in top positions in Ghana and I can attest to fact that Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin North Constituency and businessman and an average Ghanaian man have the same mentality as mine following the MP’s comment on our EC boss that she earned the position by sexual favour. I believe he never said it for nothing; He’s a business tycoon and knows what’s on the ground.
    Continue your good message, the wise among them will tremble and shun the evil. Those of us who also have negative thoughts about the women will try as much as possible to shun that too.

  4. […] so, two years later, I’m finally writing about this. The discussion must be had, especially when misogynistic statements come from folks who have garnered enough social capital – online and/or offline – and […]

  5. Mariam Olafuyi says:

    I was talking about this a while ago on my Facebook page. I explained how I felt when a man made an inappropriate comment to me in a professional setting. What appalled me was how quickly other men came to his defence, and explained that his comment was harmless. Harmless indeed, until such a man is in a position to wield power over me. Thank you for having this conversation.

    Check out my blog for more pieces from me. http://www.maytermorphorsis.com/her-evolution/

    • Kwadjo Panyin says:

      Hello there! Thanks for your comment. I will be checking out your blog and reading up on your pieces. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Moses Barima Djimatey says:

    What a piece! What a sad spectacle of a reality! I wish it was a story from ancient times but it aches my heart to accept that it is happening now. And my two beautiful girls! My beautiful queens who want to be doctors or engineers! What shall we do? We must definitely do something. Thanks for bringing to up. I will share this.

  7. Cathy says:

    Wow!!Kwadjo Panyin a topic so rarely talked about,but yet so entrenched in our society that it’s become a part of life.A sad state of affairs indeed,when other women think warding off such disgusting sexual advances and harassment from men means, you the woman in question think “you are all that” get with the program most will say.Some parents even turn a blind eye and rather encourage their daughters,all because of position and success…..Indeed if we do not speak up who will?…..ALL must stand up against this practice.

  8. Afua Ansah says:

    Don’t know who Kofi Amoabeng is.. but he is “rice” .. translate into twi… to obtain a first class distinction doesn’t come from one professor.. so he is insinuating that a beautiful gal may or may not hv slept with all her professors… right?… although u hv acknowledged the male chauvinistic power in the Ghana corporate world there are indeed beauty n brains… tons of them in Ghana.. instead of him to address that issue.. am sure he is one of them.. he turns the blame on of course the beautiful confident woman seeking employment. What he also does not acknowledge is the countries need to employ only highly educated individuals for every position.. u need a masters degree even to be a secretary.. ridiculous.. everyone is book smart supposedly and street dumb…hence the deplorable situation our nation is in …. my 2 cents

  9. GhanaMpanins3m says:

    I wish this blog post could be required reading for all the impressionable young men in Secondary school. This, a hundred thousand times.

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