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Brief Profile

My name is Mary Tackie Yaoboi, a graduate of Knutsford University College with a major in human resource management. Since childhood, I have harbored a deep-seated desire and lifelong dream to join the security force. Despite numerous applications to various forces, I faced repeated rejection. I even played basketball for the Ghana Police Service for a year, hoping to be recruited through sports, but this too proved unsuccessful.

Subsequently, I worked as a bouncer for an existing male group, yet I still felt unfulfilled and that it wasn’t the right fit for me. While contemplating my next move, I had the opportunity to participate in a career development program called the Aequitas Experience organized by the Aequitas Foundation. This program ignited a strong urge and passion within me to venture into the security industry on my own. Motivatedby thisnewfoundinspiration, I decided to establish an all-female security service – The She Guards.

What sparked your interest in security & how did you get started in this field?

The alarming frequency of crime in our country, particularly crimes against women, deeply concerns me. This heightened awareness of the vulnerability of women and girls further fueled my determination. Since I was denied the opportunity to protect women through traditional avenues like joining the force, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I envisioned creating, training, and educating women to enhance their self-awareness and defenses against potential threats. Following intensive training, I was fully prepared to empower other women who share my passion for serving and safeguarding lives and property.

I chose to create an all-female security service because I observed that women in the security sector are often underrecognized, despite their diligent efforts. Men often receive undue credit for the work women perform. Additionally, I believe women require greater protection as we are more vulnerable to abuse and harassment compared to men. People are likely to feel safer entrusting their security to women. As a result, “The She Guards” was launched in October 2022 to address these issues and provide a reliable all female security solution.

What sparked your interest in security & how did you get started in this field?

The rate at which crime goes on in this country is alarming and mostly women are the ones being attacked. With these alarming crime rate towards women and girl child, and since I couldn’t get the opportunity to be in the forces which I could use to help protect these people, why don’t I create, train
and educate women to be more aware of themselves, and also defend themselves when need arises. After undergoing series of training, I was ready to impact that on other women who also have the passion to serve and protect lives and properties.

What has been your ordeal as a young Ghanaian woman navigating an overwhelmingly male-dominated space?

As a young Ghanaian woman navigating the security industry, the journey has been challenging. Achieving acceptance and trust from society and the nation as a whole is key in this field. Many individuals doubt the capability of women to ensure their safety and protect their lives and property, making it difficult to gain widespread trust.

Penetrating the security market as a new company presents significant challenges. Many companies, institutions, organizations, and individuals already have established relationships with existing security firms. Convincing them to switch to a new and upcoming all-women firm like ours is particularly challenging due to these existing rapport and relationships.

Therefore, it is imperative for us to actively seek out clients and work diligently to establish long-term relationships with them, despite the tough and competitive nature of the market.

What has been your greatest challenge so far?

Many still hold the misconception that security is a field reserved for men due to the perception of women as weak and vulnerable. However, we believe that safety knows no gender, and this applies equally to the security industry. The public is gradually becoming more accepting of women in security roles. After all, who better understands a woman’s needs than another woman?

Our main challenge has been discrimination and stereotyping. When people hear “security” or “bouncer,” they typically expect to encounter a physically imposing man. As a result, we often face rejection, cyberbullying, loss of financial support, or pressure to marry off because of our chosen career path in security.

THE SHE GUARDS is changing this narrative. We are demonstrating to women and girls everywhere that they can succeed in this field. By leading the way, we are showing that others can achieve their aspirations too.

Who do you look up to and why?

I have long admired Oheneyere Gifty Anti since she hosted her show, the Standpoint. Her discussions on women’s issues deeply resonated with me, even at a young age. I was inspired by her confidence and charisma whenever she appeared on television. She conducted herself effortlessly, and I aspired to emulate her strength, confidence, and outspoken nature. She truly motivated me to advocate for myself in any situation.

As the head of an all female security company, what are the major threats you’ve encountered or identified in your line of duty?

One of the primary concerns facing us is cybersecurity. In our interconnected world, cybersecurity threats are escalating in tandem with technological advancements. Our lives are increasingly entwined with digital platforms, encompassing social media, email, digital banking, and online shopping for necessities. Through these platforms, we unknowingly divulge critical information about ourselves and our activities. While online convenience and accessibility have transformed our lives, they have also provided criminals with opportunities to disrupt and exploit us, posing significant risks to our security and safety. This escalating situation is cause for alarm.

What qualities or virtues do you possess as a security professional that gives you an advantage over your competitors?

Confidentiality, secrecy, and honesty are fundamental in our line of work. It is essential for individuals to have complete trust in us while on duty. We consistently uphold integrity to prioritize our clients’ best interests.

Adaptability and quick thinking are essential traits in our role because security situations can arise unexpectedly and at any moment. We remain vigilant, ready, and capable of making rapid decisions in emergencies. We assess situations promptly and determine the best course of action to ensure the safety of our clients. Women naturally excel in conflict management and problem-solving, often approaching challenges with a calm demeanor. This tends to lead to less aggressive outcomes. Additionally, women possess a diplomatic negotiation style that contributes to effective conflict resolution.

There’s been a surge in cyberbullying in recent times, as a professional whose foremost concern is security, what advice will you dish out to young ones out there?

  1. Raise awareness: Organizations dedicated to human rights advocacy should help young people start movements, create clubs, launch campaigns, and form WhatsApp groups to raise awareness about cyberbullying. While they may understand what cyberbullying is, it’s only when others are also aware that we can effectively prevent it.
  2. Set up privacy controls and limit access to your online profile to trusted friends only. Most social networking sites allow you to share information exclusively with friends, but these settings must be configured in order to ensure maximum protection.
  3. Google Yourself: Regularly search your name on major search engines (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo). If any personal information or content appears that could be used to target you, take steps to have it removed before it becomes a problem.
  4. Individuals should make every effort to report instances of cyberbullying. Numerous laws protect our rights and freedoms in this country. As a nation, we must report offending accounts and seek help from organizations like the “Cyber Security Authority.” We need to learn to speak up when we are bullied.

In a recent interview you said and I quote “I want to give a voice to women through She Guards”. What exactly do you mean and how do you intend to reach this goal?

Many women, including myself, who have long sought the opportunity to join the force and serve the country, have faced rejection or denial. The voice I am lending to them demonstrates that, despite repeated rejections, there is always another path forward. Through the efforts of THE SHE GUARDS, we are inspiring future generations and showing all women that they have no limitations. When you set your mind to achieving something, you pursue it by any means necessary. And this avenue also helps create job opportunity for others who share the passion but haven’t had the opportunity.

Any customized security tips for event organizers and attendees?

  1. They must consider the venue. This means that they have to think about how the venue will impact the safety of their team and attendees.
  2. Secondly, they should collaborate with an experienced security team. Security personnel will ensure the safety of all attendees and the protection of their belongings. They will also inspect the venue to eliminate any external threats that could disrupt the event.
  3. Event organizers can also use digital means of acquiring and issuing tickets to help check attendance and have details of their attendees.
  4. Attendees should be well-informed about the type of event they are attending, the location of the venue, how to arrive safely, and the best ways to leave once the event is over.
  5. Lastly, it’s advisable for attendees to move in groups rather than alone, especially when traveling to restroom facilities or parking areas that are situated farther from the event grounds.

The UNVEIL

The UNVEIL is an entrepreneurial initiative designed to validate the respective stories and amplify the voices of active female participants in the labor market, engrossed in providing sustainable solutions to Africa’s diverse challenges through enterprising. An initiative powered by WESTLIONCO.

Edited by Gifty Boatemaa Annan

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