Meet Odile

Odile- miniview.JPG

“I was born and raised in Rwanda. I just moved here two years ago for school. I’m a sophomore and I’m pursuing biochemistry. I want to go to medical school after my four years.

I am the firstborn of four kids back home. As a girl and as a firstborn at the same time, my parents just raised me really to kind of help me think of me as if a person who has full potential. Not just because I’m a woman and then I’m maybe less or something. They really, especially my dad used to tell me that I can do anything as long as I want to and as long as I work hard for that. It kind of helped me to view myself not as the less person, until still today.

I grew up in a culture where women were considered less. And to me, men and women are the same people. But if I can say, the worldview of the past of thinking is that women can’t do anything. But I think we are getting better which is really good. Also in the U.S., like last year— in the past I don’t even think women would be involved in elections but now they can which is a huge step. If anything, we still have a huge way to go.

It kind of makes me sad when I hear that women and men don’t get paid the same way but yet they make the same contributions. They took the same classes and have the same degrees, but they don’t get paid the same. And I”m like why is it like that. Why can’t people get what they had earned for, just because they have different genders.

We have come from so far and I’m sure we’ll get further but these are issues that need to be addressed.

I know men and women are different, God gave us different gifts and different capabilities. There are things we can do that men can’t do, and there are things they can do that are hard for us but that doesn’t mean we can’t. It just means it’s maybe harder for us but we can do it.

I just want to see the world as a place where everyone feels they are not limited to reach their dreams, whether they are men or women. Just like my parents raised me to be. I think this is something that has to be done with everyone. Even women have to live it, in their daily lives. Like if you feel like you are less than your male friend, then how is he going to respect you.

You’re the first person to respect yourself. And to show the world that you can. And then people will take from that and learn from that and change their mindset. So that’s what I think women should do.

But also men should remember that they are men because there was a woman in their life. We are all born from women. And I know both people are needed to make that happen, but we should also value that in women. They are life-givers. We should start from that and see them as people who don’t just bring their soul to the world, but bring life to the world.

I’m really grateful to where we are today. People have stood up to advocate for women’s rights. But I’m not satisfied yet. I want to see more. I want to see better. I want to see a world where everyone feels capable and included.”