Theresa Osei

Former Banker Poised To Change Narrative In Gender Gap

One of the industries mostly dominated by men is the construction sector.

Figures from the Ghana Statistical Service show that the industry provides employment for approximately 420,000 people of which only 3% are women. 

Even though some women are thriving to change the narrative, they’re highly under-represented in the construction sector.

However, the industry is expanding, becoming lucrative, labour-intensive and has continually been an important employer in Ghana’s economy.

To tap into the glaring opportunities available in the sector, 36 year-old, Theresa Osei who lost her job as a Bank Manageress in 2018 as a result of the liquidation of the banking sector, found a treasure in the real estate sector as a flooring decorator.

UNACWCA had a conversation with Theresa and she explained why she decided on this sector and founded a company, Tessy Homes and Unique Finishing.

UNACWCA: How Did You Find Yourself In The Male-dominated Field?

Theresa: After losing my job in the banking sector, I thought all hope was lost and my world had come to an end as a single mother, forgetting that I have this skill already.

I love decorations as in building and compound, landscaping and art work but after acquiring this skill I was blindfolded with the white collar job until I lost it.

I lost the job in late 2018 September thereabouts so I was home till 2019, then I started talking to friends and family about what I do and that got me to where I am today. So the flooring works was started in 2019 but I registered the company in April 2021.

UNACWCA: What Is Special About Starting This Business?

Theresa: I was inspired by the flexibility in the execution of work as a realtor, no start up funds, it also provides a path to financial freedom if only you are good at what you do and the personal fulfillment of helping families with a very good and exciting environment to live in with a very small amount of money.

UNACWCA: What Do You Love About It Compared To The Banking Job?

Theresa: Well, as compared to the banking job, I will always say it’s a blessing I started this because it is really profitable as compared to the other.

Leaving home as early as 6am and coming back as late as 8pm as a banker (time factor), and monetary aspects too.

Though the profit is not all that encouraging as contractor, due to the high cost of renting of machinery to execute a project, I know if I am able to purchase those machinery, I will be able to make more and employ more hands into the industry. 

UNACWCA: What Encouraging Words Do You Have For Women Aspiring To Go Into Real Estate Business?

Theresa: My advice to my fellow women is that decorative concrete works or real estate development is one of the best careers for women who want to create their own destiny. It is one of those careers where you can be your own boss without any start up funds, set your own hours for work and see the rewards of all your work.

UNACWCA: What Are The Challenges Associated With The Work As A Female And How Do Intend To Address Them?

Theresa: I face a lot of challenges but the major ones have been gender discrimination, sexual harassment, lack of financial support and mentorship.

I’m willing to welcome investors, companies or individuals interested in economic empowerment for women. My mission is get more women into the field to help breach the gender gap.

Taking Advantage Of Real Estate Sector

Several reports indicate that the glaring factors that explain this enormous gender gap are unconscious gender biases, lack of adequate training and negative perceptions of women working in the construction economy. 

Despite these shortcomings, determined women like Theresa Osei continue to build their path in the industry and thriving to change the narrative.

Construction industry jobs are expected to balloon as the urge for property ownership keeps going up.

Being a reliable source of job creation, year-on-year, it is important economic empowerment programs for women tap into this sector through trainings and mentorship programs.