By Sadaf Rahman, Safety and Security Officer, CARE Pakistan
“You cannot do it.”
“Security is not for girls; go and find yourself some office job.”
“Can you even spell security?”
“Oh, you wish to be a security manager; really?”
“Why don’t you meet me over dinner and we will see what we can do.”
“Thank you for your interest but we would rather hire a man.”
All of the above statements actually happened when I tried to apply for a job in the men-dominated field of security. And I accepted to get discouraged but only for a little time or a maximum of a few days. Like the phoenix, I rose from these encounters with an even stronger will and firmer resolve to work in the security field. There was no reason not to believe that I couldn’t do it and hence, I finally got the break with the International Organization for Migration when I was hired as Security Officer. Since then, I actually haven’t looked back. Though, there does pop up a little desire occasionally to go to these six different people who said what they said and tell them: “Look, I made it”.
I knew a job in security is tough, very tough. I also knew it would be demanding and meant to serve in inhospitable environments. But I persisted believing in the strength of human resolve, honestly. I am aware of the many odds that human beings have surmounted in the past and as the saying goes: “A dream of yesterday is a reality today.” I couldn’t put it any better than that.
My resolve to be among the best in the security industry is unflinching and I would always be looking forward to add value both in my professional dispensation and personal development. CARE is a non-political non-sectarian humanitarian organisation and all that matters to us is improving the lives of poor people, assisting them to overcome poverty. Today, humanitarian agencies such as CARE have to deal with emerging threats while doing their work. We can be targeted simply because of who we are and what we are perceived to represent.
And a security officer has to be on her toes to always be a step ahead than those who wish us damage. Not many may know it but it is a perpetual struggle to keep our staff, our projects and premise protected. It also looks adventurous from the outset; but I as a security officer have learned NOT to be adventurous. This, to me, is the basic definition and requirement to be in the security business. Being brave does mean respecting security and safety rules.
I am grateful that CARE practices what their belief is: Gender Equality. I will, and am all geared up to, prove that CARE’s decision to hire me was the right one. A woman can be as good as a man in security.
Today, as a CAS, a Certified Anti Terrorism Specialist, I stand with courage and strength and face whatever comes my way. I am a woman. But I am no less than anyone else. Period!