The International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO is celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day, IWD with the theme: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.
The United Nations agency that oversees globally aviation is using the day to highlight the contributions of women around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for the aviation industry.
The celebration of the international women’s Day in the aviation sector in Nigeria is an opportune moment to renew commitment towards gender equality in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 5 and the ICAO Resolution A39-30.
Building a more resilient and sustainable future for the industry as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic requires a concerted efforts.
In this regard, women have played immense roles not only in ensuring air and health safety but also taking up leadership positions and decisions in both private and government agencies.
The once-upon-a-time-male dominated profession is today replete with female pilots, flight dispatchers, trainers, aircraft maintenance engineers, electronic engineers, air traffic controllers, and aviation security amongst others.
They might be limited in number but their contribution to safety, security and comfort is huge.
Females like Captain Chinyere Kalu, the first female Nigerian pilot and former rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, has served as a role model and shining example to the current female pilots that have added colour to the cockpits and the sky.
Two female pilots, Captains Bolaji Agbelusi and Atinuke Stanley-Pepple speak on the role played by women in the Industry.
“When I started flying, the word She did not existed in the NCAA regulations and we uphold global standands and best practices. At least now we now have our females being represented in this industry”.
In the area of air navigation, Mrs. Felicia Agubata, an engineer says, the contributions of women cannot be ignored.
“I can state authoritatively that women have come of age in all facets of the aerospace in the aviation industry, there is no segment of the industry that you do not find competent and brilliant women”.
In developing capacity for a sustainable industry, the women have also been in the forefront.
Ms. Joy Ogbebor has taken up this duty as a cabin executive to train cabin crew but also the next future generation of aviators.
She however listed some challenges hindering females in the sector.
“We have cultural challenges, till date we still have people who believe that, the place of the woman is still in the kitchen, there is need to invest in our young women, we need to set the light in their path”.
The industry has also had female ministers who have taken certain decisions which formed the foundation for others to build on.
Names like Mrs. Kema Chikwe, Mrs. Felicia Njeze and Senator Stella Oduah readily come to mind.
More women are still being expected to flood the Industry as the opportunity has been opened by one of the domestic airlines to train 1,440 personnel for the industry in the next decade.