‘Why women shy away from career in aviation’
Mrs. Ify Megwa is the president, Glowing Wings chapter of women in the aviation industry, a non-governmental organisation. In this interview, she speaks on how cultural barriers had in the past stalled women’s participation in the aviation sector and how women can combine aviation career with the home front. their husband’s meals, serve him, and others. As a woman in aviation, you probably could be flying or on board somewhere in any flight and your flight could be at night and your husband is at home and you are not there. So culturally, we had challenges in the past.
Secondly the structure has limited us, we are now struggling to make our marks and let the men know that we can do it too. We are trying but cultural limitations had dampened our zeal in the past because there were very few women in the profession. Men think because you are a highflier, aviation is fashionable, trendy and any woman in aviation is fashionable and trendy so the men begin to get jittery.
Most men would not allow their wives work in aviation because they don’t want other men to see her; she watching and everything together. I juggle and when I am at work, I try to make sure that work is work too.
My job has become a hobby for me, not just a job. Once you make your job a hobby, that is the first start and all the challenges at the job become things that you can overcome because you are happy with what you are doing. I have passion for my job and that’s been a source of support for me.
How does a woman in aviation cope with her husband that doesn’t seem to understand the nature of her career?
You don’t have to have a husband in aviation for him to appreciate your job as a career woman in aviation. It’s about how you are able to explain to him and make him understand. Even a woman who is at home and in the kitchen can still have challenges with her husband. Again, you must communicate in very clear terms with your spouse and he would understand you. Basically you have to communicate and create trust in him. If you make him trust you, even if they come and tell stories about you, he would not bother. So you communicate, you create trust, you create an environment that when you are at home, you are the woman and the wife you are supposed to be; don’t carry your work position to your home, it would not work. He would appreciate the career woman that you are and he would support you.
What is your advice to women who are afraid of going into the aviation sector?
They should come and try and see, aviation is fun. It is a place that you would love to be. Because of the global nature of aviation, it is the only sector that you have partners everywhere in the world, it is the only sector that exposes you to various places in the world apart from where you come from; it is the only sector that gives you a shorter travelling space, within a twinkle of an eye, you cover so much miles and you can have breakfast in Nigeria and have dinner in another country as far as London or Paris. So, it is an attractive place to work in and it is another place where you can achieve your dream because we have a variety of careers in the same sector. You can be anything in aviation; it offers a variety of careers, choices.
Mrs. Ify Megwa