International Women’s Day 2022: “Surviving In a Man’s world” By Sarat Braimah, Area Manager, NIWA Lagos

Eng Sarat Braimah

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day 2022, the Area Manager, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Eng Sarat Braimah penned down this piece to serve as inspiration to other women.


I must confess that God provided and surrounded me with male bosses and colleagues who were more of family than work mates. Interesting, I grew up in a family, a large family where men also dominate but in an atmosphere of competency and respect for productivity.

My mother was my role model and as a top civil servant who rose to the penacle of her profession, I saw her in the best moments of taking critical decisions and how she waded off “bullying” and pressures from her powerful male Superiors.

Through the university where I studied engineering, I was heads up, navigated through pressures from lectures and class mates who sometimes wondered what inspires me.

Indulge me, please and I know someone here would want to know if there male harassment in what is known as sexual intimidation. Yes, I was a tom boy and dashing young lady who is usually modestly dressed but I had this natural instincts of keeping my male colleagues focused on the job.

It’s same outside the corridors of academic pursuits and same timelines applied to the work environment. If you must survive like I did, meeting your operational expectations, must be key. In Niwa, and through the ranks, I pushed myself and my team beyond measure.

There were no excuses associated with women and having established that the fact, that I am willing to go the extra mile, to sacrifice comfort and other fanciful externals, my male bosses and colleagues were also challenged to assist and provide me necessary support to deliver on my mandate.

There were also challenges from the women folks, some who wants you to be their gossip mates and so on but I really don’t thrive in the murky waters of office gossips and politics. I deliberately built walls to discourage distractions from my gender group on issues inimical to the job at hand instead helped many to choose productivity above self consciousness and pity.

In the marine engineering world, you must work like a soldier, focused, determined and sacrificial. You must be intrepid, adventurous and a goal getter. It’s what separates you from others and also what counts in our environment. No dulling as they say on the streets!!

Managing home and career is also part of the game plan of leadership survival. Am bit worried that our young female persons in the profession, waits on culture and not hard work to propel their tomorrow’s vision. Am still learning from my male bosses and even from younger ones working under me and the rule of thumb, is to deliver and deliver before excuses!!

And if as a woman, you are not ready to work beyond the confines of established rules of engagement, office hours for instance, then the system, will pass you by and hardly will reckon with you at the place of recognition.

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