MRS. GLORIA YOUNG is an eminent actress and the current Public Relations Officer of the Catholic Women Organisation, Nigeria, Lagos Archdiocese (CWONLA). In this interview with NETA NWOSU, the communications genius, says the theme of the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD) is a wake-up call to women all over the world to change the narrative. Excerpts.
What does International Women’s Day and its theme this year, “Choose to Challenge” mean to you?
This year’s International Women’s Day means a lot to me. For many years, women have been telling their stories, from domestic violence to rape to sexual discrimination in the workplace and so on. The theme this year “choose to challenge” is a wakeup call to women all over the world that the time has come to change the narrative. We are getting there, we must not relent. The time has also come to turn the mirror around and look at ourselves. We must challenge ourselves, we must challenge the status quo and we must challenge each other.
Why did you choose to become an actress?
God chose my career path. I studied journalism, but veered into writing scripts for actors in a television sitcom. I went into acting to fill a need and the rest, as they say, is history.
What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
I have faced numerous challenges in my career. Marriage and Motherhood took me back a few years but with the Grace of God, I’ve surmounted them.
Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you in your career?
My role models are Joke Silva and Ibidun Allison (Amebo of Village Headmaster). I’ve learnt a lot watching them over the years and they impacted great wisdom into my life. I’m blessed to have them just a phone call away and they have both been very supportive.
What advice would you give to women about their careers?
My advice to women is to choose a career that you are passionate about. One that, despite all odds, you can get a certain satisfaction from, at the end of the day. Do not follow the crowd. Follow your heart, seek your husband’s support and advice at all times. Finally, make sure the home front is not lacking when you have to be at work. Make good use of the telephone and other means of communication while you are away so your family don’t feel your absence too much. If the home front is happy, you will be able to do your job better.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing women today?
The biggest issue facing women today is gender equality. Women should be encouraged to aspire to be Presidents and not always first ladies. Our children should be taught to respect the girl child as much as the boy child. A gender doesn’t define us. We can be vehicle mechanics, bus drivers, builders, field engineers and surveyors. If that’s what we want.
What message do you have for the Catholic women in commemoration of the IWD?
I would like to remind all Catholic women that in line with the theme, #choosetochallenge, we are expected to be responsible for our own thoughts and actions towards each other. We are expected to challenge bias, inequality, violence of the woman and the girl child wherever we encounter it. We are to celebrate women’s achievement, and show loyalty with a deep sense of commitment as we support ourselves. Above all, we should never relent in our prayers to Mary our Mother of good counsel. We must call on her for strength and fortitude whenever we feel the weight of life bearing down on us. She never fails. Through Mary our Mother we succeed.