Happy Woman’s Day: We spoke to 4 local, successful woman!

When it comes to the battle of the sexes, men often view themselves as the stronger sex. Yet, without women, society as we know it will crumble.

Today, August 9, we take a moment to celebrate all the amazing women in our lives. Whether being a stay-at-home-mom, a business woman or an avid sports enthusiast, women are without a doubt the backbone of society, leading the way in forward thinking, attentiveness and goal orientated mindsets.

Being the beautiful half of mankind,  our precious woman are the driving force in families and the workplace. We at the Newcastillian, in honour of today, spoke to 4 influential and successful local woman.

Also read: Leaving no girl behind in the search for equality

Rubeena Jadwat

Managing Director of Rubeena Jadwat Optometrist

Women, Newcastillian

Qualifying as an optometrist in 2004, Rubeena finds immense joy in her practice. “I worked for others for 10 years. But when you work for someone else, you are not always truly satisfied. You always have to answer to someone else and many times it is a man.”

Since going on her own, she feels that she has proven her worth in more ways than one. “I feel that I am strong enough, because as a single mother and running my own business, I now have the flexibility to give time to my daughter who is my first priority. I am also able to give quality service to my customers, rather than quantity.”

Rubeena says she owes a lot of her success to her mother. A woman, she claims, who has pushed her and her siblings to excel. “My mother didn’t have an easy life, but she ensured my sister, brother and I received an education. From day one, she taught us to be independent.”

What are the biggest misconceptions society has on women in the optometrist world?

“People don’t think we are good enough or can do the same as a man, especially when they see you are a young woman.”

One of the optometrists she looks up to in town is Dawida van der Merwe. “She is a strong, warm hearted woman. When I went on my own, she came up to me and wished me well. Women need to empower other women like she does.”

Rubeena advises other young women and girls to pursue their dreams and get an education. “You don’t have to go to an expensive university, even if you need to do a course at home, study further. It is the first step in making yourself independent.”

Rochelle Els

Managing Director of Pixelfish Marketing and The Newcastillian

As the co-founder of Pixelfish Marketing, Rochelle is a force to be reckoned with in the marketing world. “One of the biggest misconceptions people have about women in the marketing world, is that we are weak and too soft. They often think we can’t do it or do it the same as men.”

Yet, Rochelle makes it clear through her work ethic that greatness is not restricted to men. This she claims can be seen in the joys that she experiences in her daily work. “It doesn’t come in a big way. It comes in small packages. Being able to grow, develop and constantly push myself to reap rewards , whilst evolving industry and ensuring our company and staff dominate. ”

What are the biggest obstacles faced by a women in the business world?

In terms of obstacles, Rochelle explains there isn’t much biased behaviour in the business world. “Business doesn’t see gender. Business cares about the quality of work, profitability and results.”

When it comes to role models, Rochelle explains circumstances and experience are her greatest motivation. “I have circumstances and aspirations that motivate me, not a person.”

Rochelle advises young women and girls to always give their best. “Find the path for yourself and evolve with it. Do it with everything you have and never relent. Never give up. Don’t let anyone hold you back,  no matter what.”

Also read: Did you know it’s Women’s Month – Amazing facts and inventions by women

Helen Truter

Managing Director of Valvenet Engineering 

Women, Newcastillian

In the male dominated world of repairs, modifications, general engineering and manufacturing, Helen stands her ground firmly, gaining the respect of those who deal with her.

What are the biggest misconceptions women face in your industry?

“People tend to think we don’t know what we are talking about or know about our product, especially in a male dominated industry such as this.”

Helen explains that out of all the obstacles she has faced over the years, it is changing the mindsets of people that has been the most challenging. “The biggest obstacles are to be accepted, understood and to gain mutual respect.”

But it is through overcoming these obstacles that she finds her greatest joy in her work. “One of the biggest achievements is to have people see you as an equal. When they call you for an opinion, asking you to come to the site for advice.”

Through proving herself, Helen offers words of wisdom to young women looking for careers in the engineering world. “You have to be true to yourself and know your product. You can sell your product through other merits, but won’t get you long lasting business.”

Zaakira Khan

Oval track racer

Women, Newcastillian

When it comes to fast cars and racing, Zaakira does not allow stereotypes to pull the brakes on her passion for racing.

But, what are the misconceptions faced by female racers?

“A lot of people think it is a male dominated sport. But, it isn’t. You just have to have the passion. One of the obstacles women face in racing though, is that men tend to underestimate us on the track.”

This is a mistake many men learn, as Zaakira and other female racers are not scared to leave their male opponents in the dust. Once on the track, Zaakira proves there is more to her than meets the eye, as she shows fearlessness on the track.

Over the years, Zaakira says she has learned a lot and is grateful for everything she has accomplished through Newcastle Raceway Club. “It is something I love. Winning is a big motivation, because once you win, you always push yourself to do better. The biggest competition you have on the track, is yourself.”

While winning is one of her biggest motivators, it is also one of her greatest joys. Being able to win, knowing she was the best in that specific race, regardless of the gender of her opponents.

With a deep-seated passion for racing, Zaakira encourages others not to be scared to climb behind the steering wheel of a racing car. “If you feel it is your passion, don’t let anything hold you back. Rather try and fail, than failing to try.”

Also read: Saudi Arabia ends ban on women driving

We at the Newcastillian wish all Woman around NKZN and SA a wonderful and memorable day!!

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