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The First All-Female Flight Crew: Rising Above Gender Discrimination

“In our society the women who break down barriers are those who ignore limits.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger

A balanced society aiming to see a changed and transformed world should be a society void of any form of discrimination, especially gender discrimination. In most countries around the world, there has been, and still is, a clamour for the inclusion of women in all levels and spheres of human endeavours. No one can deny that women are effective forces of transformation to a better world with equal mental capacity yet they are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world. Every woman has something to offer and some have become prominent for breaking through the barriers of gender limitation, remained fearless in the pursuit of their dreams and their success proves that women are natural leaders with a lot to offer our world.

For the 21st century woman and girl, the future keeps shining brighter as diverse sectors of the economy are beginning to start making an exception for them rather than making them the exception. One of the few rewriting the story of women in the aviation industry is the Ethiopian Airline – Africa’s most profitable airline. In promotion of women empowerment and to encourage more African girls to pursue a career in aviation, the Ethiopian airline dispatched its first ever flight operated by an all female crew in 2015, a case of ‘painting the sky pink’.

The flight to Bangkok, Thailand from the capital city, Addis Ababa, was handled by females in every aspect, from pilots to air traffic controllers, planning, aircraft maintenance and, upon arrival in Bangkok, all customs and immigration were female. This flight was aimed at inspiring women all over the world, women in aviation and particularly African women.

The initiative is seen as a step in the right direction in a quest for equality, especially coming after the United Nations ranked Ethiopia 174th out of 184 countries in its 2011 Gender Development Index.

The success of this flight is a proof of what is possible and it reinforces the fact that when women come together with a collective intention they can become an unstoppable force set to achieve their goals. No nation can ever rise to the peak of development if the potentials and contributions of the women are neglected and underutilized. The more empowered women are to dare to do the impossible the more the society receives in return.

Time and again we are reminded that women can excel in many areas that were exclusively male-dominated. It is about time African women are given the chance to be involved in various sectors of the economy actively. This can only be good for the development of the nations across the board. Someday, hopefully, such things as arranged by Ethiopian Airlines will be commonplace, not just in aviation, but in many other areas of economic development in Africa.

Khemmie Ray
A passionate writer whose world revolves around arts and aesthetics.

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