For some women in business, the sky is the limit

Date: January 1, 1970
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The article profiles two successful businesswomen in Malawi. Jean Sadik and Ellen Nakanga-Mlamba have risen from humble beginnings to greater heights. Sadik, for example, has secured deals with large corporations such as Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) and Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL).

This article may be used to:
1. Highlight the fact that media is aware that women have made inroads into the business world and are not only present as small enterprise owners but big economic players.
2. Give an example of a gender aware article that highlights some of the challenges that women in business face.
3. Inspire other women who are interested to venture into business.
4. Show that media is slowly giving space to women to tell their own success stories.
Trainer’s notes
In most countries in Southern Africa, the business world is one that is dominated by men. Even in advertising men are shown in the business and corporate world, suggesting that they are the major players in the sector. This article, however, shows a different side of the coin by capturing the paradigm shift that has been taking place over the years. Women have moved out of the private sphere and have set up big businesses which they are able to run successfully. By profiling these two women the article is, in essence, driving across the message that women can do it for themselves and only the sky is the limit. Where women have ventured into business, the tendency by most media has been to treat these businesses as small, insignificant backyard enterprises. This article, however, shows a woman, Jean Sadik, who has struck deals with large corporations such as ESCOM and MTL after starting with a capital base of K15 000 and growing it to over a million kwacha in ten years. This article encourages would-be business people not to be mindful of their capital base as with time they can expand this base. Ellen Nakanga-Mlamba, for example, started off with only K500 but has managed to expand this capital base to K2,5 million. 
The headline of the article, ‘for some women in business, the sky is the limit’, suggests that it is not all women in business that see the sky as the limit. This article realises that women are not one homogenous group that can be talked about as a one large entity but as individuals with different dreams, aspirations and challenges. While the article does look at the challenges that face women in business, it does so in one sweeping statement right at the end of the story. This does not do justice to the many challenges that women face. It is obvious that access to finance and the huge taxes are not the only challenges. There are other challenges that come with being a woman. This article also does not analyse whether men and women face the same challenges as they try to access finance. This article is based on the views of the two businesswomen who are the subjects of the story. The article would have done better by seeking comment from financial institutions to get their views on, for example, the argument that banks are not helping women in business as the loans they give out are usually too small.
Discussion questions
1. Is this article aware of the gender disparities that abound in the world of business?
2. What does the article say about women in business?
3. In your view, what is missing from the article that can make it read better?
4. What is your comment on the headline of the story?
Training Exercises
1.  The article does not say much about challenges women in business face. Interview local businesswomen about the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
2.  Put together a resource list for women who want to enter into business – contacts a different banks for financing, organisations that help female entrepreneurs, and manuals, books, documents and websites that give useful information about starting a business.
Links to other training resources

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