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Females at the top: AIDBank staff report
Females at the top: AIDBank staff report

The picture is as telling as it is striking. Eleven members of the senior management team of the Agricultural, Industrial and Development (AID) Bank, their headshots plastered over a page of the bank's 2015 annual report, only one, the general manager Julius Corbette, is male.

"I think the whole thing is the women are quite qualified. For years it's been like that," Corbette told The Sun in a telephone interview.

Of course, the composition of the board of directors is different. Of the nine members, only a third are female, and both the chairman and vice chairman are male.

But it is in the composition of the senior management team that the difference is stark. And by the look if things, this situation is not expected to change anytime soon.

"I'm seeing, going forward, a lot of application coming from women," the general manager told The Sun, stressing a point he made earlier that the majority of applicants for position at the bank are women.

Corbette was emphatic in making the point again and again that every one of these ten women is "very well qualified" and reliable.

"For the past few years, the women are much more qualified than the men, even in high school," he said.

It is a point validated by a recent photograph of new Dominican graduates of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus. Of the 12 who appear in the photograph at the ceremony in St. Kitts, nine were female.

This is something Dr. Francis Severin sees often in his role as director of UWI's Open Campus Country Sites.

"Within the University of the West Indies what you are seeing is roughly an 80-20 participation in some faculties, more females than males," Dr. Severin told The Sun.

From law to humanities the women dominate, he said. And even in engineering, "the bastion of male dominance", things are beginning to change.

"Now what we are seeing at graduation ceremonies is the females are getting first class honours, which means the females are asserting themselves."

Women also seem to have a greater drive, he said – Corbette described them as more progressive – because the cards always appear to be stacked against them.

"Because women have had to work twice as hard to get half as far, they are pushing on and succeeding, and men are [being left behind]," Dr. Severin argued. However, he also made one other striking observation. Despite an almost totally all-female management team at the AID Bank, the only male holds the top post.

More females participate in education, more females succeed in education.

"It seems the phenomenon that unfolds before me is that the females are achieving at a higher level and therefore they are achieving more at a higher level, but right at the top is a male, which suggests the chauvinistic, patriarchal aspect of society is holding strong.

So while the female [holds are the majority in management] the male holds the handle."

This position appeared to be validated also by the composition of the bank's board of directors, however, Corbette also pointed out that a woman has also been general manager.

Working as the lone man – and the most senior manager- amidst a forest of women comes with its own challenges, he said.

"You have to use all your emotional intelligence; sometimes you have to just take it in stride. You have to understand people," Corbette told The Sun.

"It's a challenging position, it's a challenging organization to manage, but we have a good team, a well-rounded team, I should say."