How Did the Residency Give you Additional Insights on the Topic?
My initial research on the subject did not provide information on how illiteracy among women has contributed to the phenomena. The residency however enlightened me through the realization that the country has a high percentage of women who are uneducated or did not complete their formal education compared to men. The occurrence is attributed to cultural and societal roles assigned to women from birth. They are perceived to be responsible for taking care of homes and children. The perception is not only widespread in rural Panama, but also in the urban regions. There are reproductive health norms that prevent women from getting an education, which may deny them exposure well-paying professional opportunities. These norms include early pregnancies and early marriages.
The residency also enlightened me through conversations with the locals of the existence of violence towards women. The existence of this type of violence hinders their growth path especially their right to self-determination as well as access to information and institutional mechanisms placed to help them move away from educational and financial hardships. I also enlightened to the fact that some women have resigned to the state of being second to men when it comes to employment. Their reason being constant dominance by men and little success from campaigns aimed at creating gender occupational equality.
Were Your Original Perceptions Before the Departure Accurate?
My initial perceptions before the departure were correct. I had earlier perceived that though there existed campaigns to level the issue; gender equality has still not been achieved. The accuracy of the perception was manifested during our visit to the technology company Dell. At the institution, some pamphlets detailed the organizational structures of the company and persons who filled the positions. An examination of the pamphlet revealed that men filled the top managerial positions. When observing lesser ranking positions, I could note more woman names and faces on the leaflet.
Another accurate perception before the visit was that there exist gender bias with the ladies being perceived as weaker. It is for this reason that women were rarely assigned technical duties. Additionally few women study technical and science courses while in school. Men predominantly filled the fields. Another accurate perception was that cultural beliefs derailed the path to gender equality at work. The rationale was due to the culture that placed women as home keepers and child bearers, which derail their focus on pursuing meaningful and well-paying occupational opportunities. Men rarely have these family obligations thus enabling them to concentrate on the possibilities.
What was Beneficial to you from the Residency?
The residency gave me a useful learning process. I have to learn some aspects from the process. I got the chance to find out how business is conducted in the country. I also had the opportunity to learn the countrys cultural and historical facts from the sightseeing and immersion we had to Gasco Antiguo and Panama Viejo. Another informative feature was the visit to the Panama Canal where I have to learn the motive behind its construction, how it was constructed, and how ships pass through the canal. In relation to the topic, I obtained insights on the gender composition of laborers who worked in its construction. I also got the opportunity to learn about business operations from the visit to Manzanillo International Shipping Terminal and Logistical Services Panama.
The jungle boat excursion to Gamboa gave me a recreational as well as educational experience as I have to experience eco-tourism. Looking at constructions aimed at expanding the canal gave me a view of how much the country was committed to development. Another beneficial aspect of the visit was learning traditional cuisines on the population's food menu. The learning experience was quite helpful. I was able to eliminate preconceived bias that I had on the country's citizens and was able to appreciate their culture.
Of all the Corporate and Cultural Visits what was the Most Impactful to You?
Out of all the corporate and cultural visits, the visit to the Panama Canal was most impactful to me. Throughout my educational and social experiences, I heard a lot about a canal that links the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean thus opening up the region to international trade maritime trade. The experiences gave me a half-baked account of events that surround the magnificent structure. I always felt that there was more to the canal than just linking two oceans. I wanted to know the whole story behind it; something that one-sided documentaries and hearsay could not provide me with.
Therefore, my firsthand experience with the structure gave answers to my curiosity. I learned of the problems encountered in the construction of the structure, problems that affected marine life and the locals input towards the disadvantages of the structure. I also got the chance to learn how a magnificent human-made structure could benefit multiple continents primarily. Another astonishing marvel was that the structure is situated in a developing country.
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