Women Lead Movement sat down with Ilse Meyer, 22 years old, from Sunbird Park, Kuils River.

Ilse is continuing her studies in Accounting at the University of the Western Cape, she has accomplished her undergraduate degree, and is studying toward achieving her post graduate degree in Accounting.

1. What do you aspire to do after completing your studies and when will you graduate?

I graduated online this week, on the 31st of March. There was no grand ceremony, and this was the first time an online graduation had been held (due to the covid-19 pandemic). I am currently in a set programme, which will see me completing my articles at PWC (Price Waterhouse & Cooper). Beyond that, I aspire to be a business leader. A woman with not only dreams, but goals, and an achiever of goals at that. I want to create jobs for people in my community and the surrounding areas.

I see myself being a force for change, starting with myself, by being an honest person, working toward being a business owner, a Chartered Accountant that works ethically.

I will eventually work toward being a CEO of a public owned entity. Since so much corruption is the reason for most of the mess that public owned entities are in, I want to hold the criminals accountable, and be held accountable for keeping to the ethical standard. I have aspirations to study further, in various fields, namely Economics, languages as well as law. In that order.

2. How do you think the young women can play a bigger role in their academic environment and communities?

I believe that young women need to be present in their studies. Their academic role is to put to practice what they are learning each day. If you are a student, then I encourage you to encourage those around you, to pursue their goals. Even if it is just to ask others about how school was, and tell kids to work hard, that little word of encouragement can really motivate others. Attend social events outside of classes if you have time, events that broaden your knowledge about pertinent events. “Find something that you are passionate about, and care deeply” then you will be doing what you do, you’ll do it well, and not just for the sake of having something to do.

3. When Women Lead Movement facilitated on Diversity and Inclusion workshop, what was the two biggest things you learned and what made you think a bit deeper about the issues in SA?

That women are not as valued as men, I see Patricia de Lille, I saw Helen Zille, but, growing up, I thought that is the way it was meant to be, but why are there so few women in parliament? The thought that inequality stretches deeper than our race, or social background.

4. If you had to be the first female President of South Africa what would you change immediately?

I would work toward building a nation that embraces social, cultural, religious differences. Diversity needs to be embraced and respected. I think I would do too many things to mention. I would create spaces for homeless people to not only have night shelters, but where they will be able to have a place to sleep at night, and the same place should be able to serve as proof of residence, a regulated place that can hold up to a certain amount of people, people who wish to get back into the system. So these individuals will each day be able to freshen up, be given clothing, they will then be allowed to go out and seek employment each day. These regulated shelters, should be a place for the homeless who want to get back into the system, who are willing to work. Furthermore, jobs that are hands-on, these places will be incentivized for employing people from such a shelter. There are many students with ideas for business creation, they just don’t know how to turn their ideas into reality. I would create platforms, use apps, for the sharing of ideas, and have entrepreneurs help these students become a part of the entrepreneur sphere. Many individuals can become artisans. Appointing Street vendors to who work with their hands to build things and sell them, if we make them “teacher’s” of their craft.

5. A message of hope and your closing thoughts that will empower other young female leaders?

Young women out there, make mistakes, and learn from them. Don’t make the same mistakes twice. And if you do, understand that you are more than your mistakes. You are capable of more than you can imagine. I need you to understand that we are all life-long learners, no one is born knowing everything and getting everything right the first time. Put yourself out there, get into those uncomfortable situations. If you’re comfortable, then you’re not challenging yourself. Keep challenging yourself. Keep growing.