As i pen this first sentence, I’m in a BRT bus heading to the Island. It is a bright Saturday morning. The sun is in high spirits. The world is awake. Traffic is not as light as it should be, because Lagosians would rather trade in that Saturday morning extra sleep for a chance to join or grow out of the middle class. A phone shrieks and the round woman seated in front of me swears as she kills it. Streaks of sweat run down her back. She fiddles with her hair. It is untamed and rebellious. The root is suffocated. She doesn’t have a good relationship with shampoos.
The man next to me shifts in his chair and I quickly raise my elbow to shield my chest, because public buses are wrought with men who make it a habit to mistakenly brush women’s breasts. I turned to take a look at him; to send a silent rebuke. He was, most likely, in his early fifties. Our faces caught. He flashed me a smile. I mumbled a greeting. He responded, then shifted to his phone. I followed his eyes. “Madam, I want to thank you very much for all that you have done for me. Since I joined your company many years ago, you have been very good to me… You did not say, oh because I don’t have certificate, I cannot become manager. Instead, you saw that I know the work and gave me the chance to lead and teach other people. Madam, I know that you are not happy that I am leaving, but I have to stop because my body is not like it used to be, and the work needs somebody that is strong….” , he typed. I shifted my eyes to scan his face. There was sincerity plastered on it. It was my turn to shift in my seat; an opportunity has just presented itself to me to find out what men who work with female bosses, really think about working with a female boss. Not that it would be a relevant question, if gender inequality wasn’t culturally rife. Well, I asked him and other men, here is what they said:
“…The fact is, I have never seen it as an abnormality…I give her her due respect, she gives me mine too, and everybody is happy and satisfied.” -Elvis .S.
“I think they make great leaders, but as a man, the thought that you should be the one giving orders, taking decisions, handling tough things, will cross your mind sometimes, especially if she is younger.” -Ahmed .I.
“I don’t have a problem working with a female boss. I’ve worked with a few… They’re great when they do not have a sharp tongue.” -Teno .E.
“I used to think they are specifically difficult, until I got married and learnt about female hormones, PMS, mood swings…. Right now, I just pretend I’m dealing with my wife. Of
course, I know how to adapt it to an office situationship.” -Ebube .O.
“I think they make great bosses when they’re not trying to prove a point. When they are, either they get tyrannical to prove they can do the job, or they get too submissive to prove they are not proud…” -Samuel .J.
“…they’re okay with your performance, until they quarrel with their boyfriend or husband, then nothing you do is good enough till they settle. Outside that, no qualms.” -Richard .O.
“Hian! Feminism brigade. Let me just tell you, the average man does not have a problem working with or under a female boss. Women need to understand that men are naturally competitive. We will work toward unseating whoever is in authority, so we can sit on that seat too. It’s all about the prize and the medal for the average man. It has nothing to do with gender….” -Mathew .H.