IS MR. KOFI AMOABENG'S "CERT TEST" MISOGYNISTIC OR YES?
So, Mr. Kofi Amoabeng. CEO extraordinaire & mogul, the kind of businessman every young business person aspires to be, has been the hot topic this week or should I say his statement has. See, I'm not the one to believe everything the media churns out. Their job is to inform and report and sometimes, they love to spin a web. Especially when it is a slow news day.
I have searched the length and width of the internet in search of this controversial interview because if we are going to speak on it, we must have our facts straight right? Well, I have been unsuccessful so this conversation will be based solely on what Joy News (Ghana) reported on the said interview.
To paraphrase what was reported, Mr. Amoabeng said a while back (and I hope it was in the past), he used to demand an authenticity test for any "beautiful lady" who presented a First Class first degree at an interview in his companies. To further clarify, what I got from this is: If I show up to any UT company with a first class in hand and I happen to be a considerably beautiful girl, the CEO will have my degree verified.
In the grand scheme of things, this is not so bad. I would hope that all companies will go through proper steps to verify the details of all resumes they receive. I could print an original diploma from Excel(there's a template for that) and pass that off as my hard- earned degree. So from a HR standpoint, this practice is standard.
Here is where it gets shady as f**k.
The key phrases here are: 1. First Class. 2. Beautiful woman.
Why is this test tailored specifically to this category? Is it birthed from the myth that most pretty girls are dumb? Or could it be from his personal experience? Or did we miss the part where some lecturers have been known to offer good grades in exchange for sexual favors?
Let me play devil's advocate here. Bear with me. We all (university graduates) have heard or witnessed some of our mates who are considered party girls/boys or absentees, show up on results boards with the highest marks in the class and we all go, "what happened?. This person barely wrote a paper!".
And then the rumors start. Maybe she passed a brown envelope to Mr. Appiah, the costing lecturer who is known to wear one blue shirt day in and day out and bam! A+
Oh maybe, "they go together" and hey, I'll give my boo an A too. (I'm morally corrupt, I know).
But what people seem to miss is this, University degrees are not based on what one or two lecturers or even head of department can add on to a failing grade. It is a combination and tally of several grades, over the course of 4 years so when people show up on graduation stages waving a first class, 9 out of 10 times, they earned it!
Sure some people may pass multiple brown envelopes around but usually it is just a rumor. In the words of late Whitney Houston, "Show me the receipts"!.
The generalization is very problematic.
Why are we singing "send your girl child to school" but when they show up with extremely good grades, we sigh and suspect them of sleeping their way to the top. Is that all we can offer? Because God gave us brains for decoration? Or because we are still living in a society infested with patriarchy, misogyny and blatant sexism.
Mr. Amoabeng's statement on the need to authenticate specifically, the degrees of pretty women is definitely laced with thinly disguised misogyny wrapped as concern. He, like many other men in power in Ghana are old school African men so maybe we should give him a pass.
I shall not.
He is in a position of power. A position that allows him to make tough calls and hiring decisions. A position that can change the living standards of an entire family or generation(if we factor mothers into this equation) for better. I would hope that he is an equal opportunity employer. An employer who treats every employee as equals. Do we need to do an investigation into the wage gap at UT, if it exists? Could this statement be a reflection of the internal operations in his companies?
But I also understand that, the way our universities and tertiary institutions are set up and not monitored for violation of certain ethics, breeds an atmosphere for equally sexist, money-hungry, parasitic and misogynistic lecturers who pride themselves in failing students and/or exchanging grades for sexual favors.
I am definitely not in favor of authenticating the degrees of just pretty women graduates but all degree holders. Whatever the class or certificate an applicant holds, I'll hope companies are a lot more interested in knowing whether your skill level is beneficial to them and if you did, in fact earn the details of all the entries on your resume.
We already make it hard for females in Ghana to get an education, to live out loud, to dress freely, to walk, to breathe & to just be themselves. So when they work their butts off like Ms. Ayodele Kareem (who swept 12 out of 15 awards in KNUST medical school), let's not treat them like their vaginas and perceived beauty are the only commodities they have to trade for success.
It may shock you to know that science has proven that women are a lot smarter than men, but you know that, i.e. your mother is an example. (Beg to differ?).
Let me know your thoughts and sentiments about this statement below.