Phenomenal Women

Written by | Breaking Chains, Trending

Phenomenal Women

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we would like to recognize two phenomenal women who have successfully climbed through the ranks to the peak of their careers in fields that have been regarded as unfit for women. These amazing women were graceful enough to grant us an interview and we are super excited to share with you our conversations with them.

Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Captain Mrs Chinyere O. Kalu and I hail from Abia State. I am married and I have three adult children. I’m over 60 years of age. Currently, I’m running a little business while considering other options.

Phenomenal Women

You are the first female pilot in Nigeria. Could you please tell us a bit about your journey?

My journey started in 1978 when I got admitted into the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Center now known as the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology. I got my Private Pilot license in 1979 and I got my Commercial Pilot license and Instrument Rating in 1980 which makes me a full-fledged pilot. I got my Instructor’s Rating in 1981 which enables me to train other pilots. I got this license from Oxford Training School, Oxford, UK. I got my Airline Pilot license in 1993 from Bolivia Aviation, Tennessee, USA. 

I have also gone through the ranks and file of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology. I started with the position of Assistant Instructor to Full Instructor, Senior Flight Instructor, Principal Flying Instructor, and then Chief Flying Instructor. I also served as the Head of Department of Flying school, the Head of the school and finally, Director Chief Executive of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology.

What is it like to be a woman in a field that is male-dominated?

It is rough and tough. It is not easy. The aircraft does not know whether you are a man or a woman. At times physical strength is required, intelligence is required, the ability to respond quickly is required. That is with the aircraft. On the other hand, my colleagues felt really threatened that I, a woman, was coming into their profession and they tried as much as possible to prove superior; to show that I could not cope one way or the other. Another matter was my religious conviction. They would taunt and tease me, you know, do one thing or the other. But with all, God enabled me to sail through. There were some that believed in me and they helped and assisted me. With time, I had to develop tough skin and eventually, they came to accept me. I want to thank God that after me, many more women have enrolled and they have all gotten a better reception. They have enjoyed their training along with their male counterparts.

What advice would you give young women out there, aspiring to get to where you are?

I want to encourage them to pursue their careers in aviation. A career in aviation is very rewarding and fulfilling. It’s challenging but if you like adventure, you will enjoy it. It is very exciting.

I want to encourage them to believe in God and believe in themselves because with God, all things are possible. Don’t allow anybody to talk down or look down on you. You can do a lot of things with the help of God. Pursue your dream, don’t dismiss it. Even if you don’t have money, pray about it and God will provide the money. 

I want to encourage young women to pursue science in their secondary school education. Don’t believe the myth that Math is difficult. It is not. In fact, I found Math easier than English. So I want to encourage as many girls out there as possible to pursue sciences and become Engineers, Doctors, Pilots, you name it. 

I want to encourage them as well to become self-sufficient in life. Not to depend on any man or any parent. Let them work hard, strive hard to become self-sufficient. To be able to manage their lives, to meet their own personal needs and the needs of others. 

Finally, I want to encourage them to be committed to their God, to be serious with their relationship with God. 

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Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Prof. Mrs Erdoo Isamade and I hail from Mkar, Gboko LGC of Benue state. I graduated from ABU Zaria Medical school at the age of 23 and did residency training in Anesthesia at Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) after which I became a fellow of National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, West African College of Surgeons and International College of Surgeons. I am a widow to Late Dr Emma Isamade from Odekpe in Ogbaru LGC of Anambra state. I am blessed with four loving children – two girls and two boys. I am a consultant Anesthetist at JUTH and lecturer at the College of Health Sciences, University of Jos. 

You are the first northerner to become a Professor in Anesthesia, Congratulations! Could you please tell us a bit about your journey?

I took interest in the speciality of Anesthesia during my internship at ABUTH Kaduna due to the influence from the skilled dexterity of Dr Reddy, an Indian Anesthetist who was very good at what he did. His impact on the patients was immediate, and that he had a great private practice that brought in extra money was part of the attraction. I went into residency training after NYSC; got married during it and completed training after my last baby Kamsy. Combining academics and family life was a stressful but fulfilling experience. I enjoyed every moment of it. I then joined the university academia and rose through the ranks to reach the zenith peak of Professor of Anesthesia. Along the way, my husband & children were very supportive. Death dealt me a big blow by snatching my loving husband away. I went into hibernation after that, but eventually picked up pieces of my life and carried on; today, here I am at the peak of my academic career. 

What is it like to be a woman in a field that is male-dominated?

My relationship with colleagues is cordial, and I enjoy everyone’s coöperation and support as the most senior in the department. At a point, I was the only female in my department, but then I have a non-intimidating personality, being a lioness. I guess being at the top of the ladder also helped in commanding respect. 

What advice would you give young women out there, aspiring to get to where you are?

I advise the young women out there to choose careers of their choice & interest. It’s only what you love to do & enjoy that will bring happiness & fulfilment. It makes the journey less stressful and enjoyable. Pursue your dreams!

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These phenomenal women are testimonies to the fact that women can be anything they choose to be. If their stories have taught us anything, it is that with hard work, perseverance, self-confidence and God, we can make it. We hope to live in a world someday where women don’t have to prove themselves; a world where they can put in the right amount of work and still be presented with the opportunity. Until that day comes, we will stand along with our pioneers to show the world that WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS. 

Last modified: April 13, 2021

2 Responses to :
Phenomenal Women

  1. Mary says:

    Amazing women dominating in their profession…impressing.We are women, we are champions

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