I’ve known Wonu since I was as young as I can remember. Not only have we been family friends but we also went to primary school (and a bit of secondary school) together in Ibadan! She was in the year above me and I have so many memories of us and our friends – the best days really. About three years ago I bumped in to Wonu at Heathrow Airport and we were both heading back to Nigeria for the holidays. She told me that she’s training to become a pilot and that’s when I knew that another one of my friends had put a crack in the glass ceiling! Aviation is extremely male dominated today and it is NOT easy for women to fulfill careers in the field but Wonu took it on the chin! Here’s episode 11 with an amazing young woman!
(LJS) Hey Wonu! Thank you for being a part of this!
(WO) Hey Laila, I’m glad to be!
(LJS) What does being a 21st century woman mean to you?
(WO) To me, being a 21st century woman means I have no barriers. There is nothing-and no one- that can stand between me and my goals. I can reach my fullest potential and offer myself, and the world, the absolute best I have.
(LJS) Yes! That’s what I like to hear! What barriers have you faced as a woman today?
(WO) I am currently pursuing an engineering degree in a school with a male to female ratio of 4 to 1. Therefore, my decision to become an engineer has been questioned several times, with “easier” majors suggested to me.
(LJS) The undermining of women in engineering seems like such a prevalent issue doesn’t it? This is my eleventh interview now and so many young women have brought up the same thing. Do you recognize yourself as a feminist? If so, what type of feminist are you?
(WO) Honestly, its hectic. Yes, I recognize myself as a feminist. However, I would rather not put a label on it. I simply believe females should have all the same rights and opportunities as their male counterparts.
(LJS) That’s fair enough. Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights. When did you first recognize the fact that gender inequality exists?
(WO) I first noticed this in middle school, but did not recognize it as a “problem” until much later.
(LJS) Lol, middle school at ACA was probably when I noticed it too to be honest. I remember wanting to play football with the boys and the comments that would be made were ridiculous. When you’re faced with barriers because of your gender, how do you overcome them?
(WO) (Lol) yup! I remind myself that there is nothing I cannot do, and even though I may have to work a little harder, I should never give up.
(LJS) And you’re reminding yourself of the truth! What is your greatest achievement so far?
(WO) Becoming the young woman I am today, despite life and its ups and downs, is my greatest achievement. The saying, “Thank God We Don’t Look Like What We Been Through” definitely applies to me.
(LJS) Haha! Girl trust me. What does “The Future Is Female” mean to you?
(WO) Female potential has been suppressed for so long. However, since this is beginning to change, I believe that in the future, female ideas and achievements will finally be recognized and the phrase “gender inequality” will be a thing of the past.
Wonu is a 21 year old junior studying Aerospace Engineering. She is passionate about children, women’s rights and black rights. She hopes to one day close the gap between African’s in the diaspora and Africans at home, encouraging Pan-Africanism across the globe.