What kind of career’s advice did you get as a young woman?
I don’t recall receiving very much, and any I did get at school was terrible. What I do remember was being told that I was too clever to be a teacher, which was all I wanted to do, and I should be a doctor. Yet I never believed this myself, and teaching was all I ever wanted to do.
What did you want to be when you left education?
When I was about eight years old all I wanted to do was go into space and be an astronaut. Gradually I realized the chances were very slim and it wasn’t quite as easy as driving a car. Then around ten years old I just wanted to teach, largely in secondary schools, that was all I knew, I settled on teaching physics when I was 13.
Did your mother work?
She had worked in banks and hotels before she was married, then stopped working outside the home when she had children. She worked hard at home to keep us fed, washed and clothed and had the general household chores and garden work to contend with. She also did the vast majority of my father and uncles farming business, and the accounts.
Love & Relationships:
Do you think getting married is important?
For some people, yes. I do believe in marriage and generally support it, however we are not all meant to marry, some of us are better off alone.
What did you dream your future partner would be like when you were a little girl?
I really have no idea, I am not sure what I thought he would be like, or if I could even imagine such a situation. I suppose I thought he would be kind, funny and clever and would have a job that would help look after me.
Is your relationship with your partner the same as your parents’ relationship?
I am not in a relationship.
How like your mother are you?
Well, of course, none of us really want to admit to this, do we?! We are alike in being social creatures, yet I am perhaps more of an introvert than she is, we are both caring people and good with numbers. We differ in outlooks, mine tends to be more positive these days, and I have always had a natural curiosity about the world and people that perhaps my mother does not.
What are your hopes for any daughters or young women you know?
That the internet breaks, and all social media collapses. I think that would alleviate some of the pressures upon girls and women today. This is unlikely sadly, so I guess I hope that they can find out what it means to be female, rather than being defined by the media, or simply as exactly the same as men, but with a different physical body. I would also hope that the mental health issues surrounding women with regard to their confidence would decrease.
Do you bring your son up the same way as your daughter? Do you think boys and girls should be brought up differently?
I am not quite sure on this – I would want them to have the same opportunities, but there are differences, I don’t think those differences are always immediately obvious, or black and white. Not all boys learn the same way, though there is a general trend, and likewise with girls. So, maybe, but may be not.
If you don’t have children, what have you been able to do that having children would have prevented you doing? What has your focus been?
Travelling, trying different career options, meeting and making as many friends as I have done in different stages of life. My focus so far has been trying to do the right thing for me and see how I can be of most use in this world.
Expectations and Dreams:
Who are your heroines and why?
It is pretty bad that I can’t really think of any off hand! Equally I am not sure I have very many ‘heroes’ either – perhaps it is just how I think.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Hold a fully-grown crocodiles tail and sit on its back in Ghana, they said it was sacred… I have also left jobs that would have swept me away, I have often not taken the easiest road in life.
What drives you?
These days it is to try and do what God wants me to do, to try and do the right thing. A thirst of knowledge has certainly driven me in the past.
What are your values?
Largely Christian ones: faith, hope and charity. I value strength and courage and a desire to do the right thing.
How old are you?
What has been your favourite age to be and why?
I am not sure, perhaps any after 18? Life certainly became much more interesting after I left home at 18, and has been rather fun since, although now many of my friends are married with children things have changed, but I find new friends!
Do you think it’s better to be young now than when you were young? (Or better now than when your parents were young?)
No! I don’t believe the liberal idea that each generation gets better, I just don’t believe it is true. I am glad that I had a childhood, where we played with sticks and mud and were not glued to our phones or worrying about what people were posting about us online or if anyone had commented on the latest post. If people were mean at least it was concentrated in the playground, it would never have been available for the whole world to join in.
What are the pros and cons of being a woman?
I am not sure there are any, we live in a world where being a woman isn’t always very different from being a man – many of the pros of being female are no longer tied to just us. There are cons of course, the everyday sexism we have to put up with, the constant questions about children and marriage, the scrutiny that our clothes receive, the unequal pay and so on.
What have been the biggest challenges in your life?
Recovering from a near fatal car accident, which was quite bad, but could have been much worse. Perhaps also the challenge of realsing who I am and figuring out how I fit in the world, which I think I might have finally worked out!
Self-image – Body or Looks:
Why do you dress the way that you do?
Practicalities – I am a highly practical person, I need to be able to live and work in what I wear and be comfortable, I pay no attention to what fashion is saying or what people expected. I suppose I am lucky in that way, I don’t care about what other people think about me, which frees me to be me.
What would be your musical soundtrack?
Matilda – largely because I like the music, but also because I loved school as a child and related a lot to Matilda.
Do you have a life’s motto?
I don’t think so.