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Kay Menzies the First Woman CEO and President of Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL)

Since the start of March we have heard from several women on the celebration of Women’s Month. Many of these women have spoken on the challenges they have endured and the sacrfices they have had to make to balance their lives. According to businesswoman and the first woman CEO and President of Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL), was on The Business Perspective Show this morning where she spoke on the opportunities for women.

Kay Menzies, CEO, BECOL: I think one of the things is that we as women have to keep reminding everybody that nothing is impossible. For girls in school right now there’s no door that’s closed to you if you want to walk through it and so often, for example, the energy business is very heavy on engineering and technical skills and so on and people often think well that’s only for guys and girls go to school and they think, that’s only for guys and it’s not. And I think this is a perfect month, thanks for the invitation actually, I think this is a perfect month for me to come on this show, running an energy company, the only woman in that role, and show that no it’s actually quite possible for a woman to do certain things that we’re seeing as stereotypically a man’s role. Especially in Belize, we have such a small population that we can’t be putting people into stereotypical slots. If you’ve got particular skill sets then go out there and use them. That’s what it’s all about. If you’re going to build a country this size with a population this size it has to be all hands on deck and wherever you can, if you’re hoisting the sails or steering the ship or whatever it is, use your skills, wherever it fits.”

According to Menzies, she believes that the idea of specific roles for women is merely a conditioning of the mind, and that it is not impossible to change.

Kay Menzies, CEO, BECOL: I think some of it is conditioning, I mean, going back to childhood. Deon, you’re a new father. You know, when your kid makes decisions about what to play with, hopefully, you’ll just let them go but there are parents who say oh no, boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls and if the little boy grabs a doll, oh no something’s wrong with him and, you know. Kids have to be kids and then adults have to follow their passions and often it kind of, it comes from that adult perspective of, oh well you want to be a fireman? You can’t be a fireman. You’re a girl so you go to. I remember years ago we were looking at vocational skills and women were taking cake decorating classes while men were doing auto repair and then I was so excited later on to find out that ITVET in Orange Walk was doing AC repair and how do I know? Because I met some women who were in the AC repair class. The stereotypes, I think, are so insidious that we don’t notice until somebody actually comes along and says, but why? And then the discussion begins.”