According to several studies, the existence of women in the workplace give positive outcomes. Many people think that only males can work as a pilot. When many women are asked why they want to be pilots, they answered that no one can explain love. Despite different women’s contributions in working as pilots, there is still a long way to achieve gender equality in this field. Surveys in U.S and U.K reveals that just more than 4% of pilots are women. Indian airlines have an advanced proportion in employing female pilots, 12.4% according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISWAP). Here are the two most famous female pilots in history, who fought for their dream of being pilots.
Lotfia was the first Arab woman to work as a pilot. She was born in 1907 in Cairo. Lotfia from her childhood was enamored with flying, even though there wasn’t an airport in Cairo at this time. Flying for her was freedom, the same time when women’s freedom was restricted. She read an article about a flight school opened recently in Cairo, the same time many western women would begin to work as pilots, she believed in her own thought that Arab women have the right of the same chance. When she realized no one will help her, she went to the director of Egypt Air, Kamal Elwi, and asked for help and guidance. At this time Lotfia couldn’t pay for joining the school, so she worked there upon her accession as a fighter woman for her dream. Lotfia was the only woman to join the school, she learned with 33 male classmates.
She got her pilot’s license after 67 days of study, on 27th September 1933. She became the first pilot woman in the Middle East and Africa, and the first Arab pilot woman in the world. “As soon as I took off, I felt the plane was light and I owned the whole world. Freedom! Freedom! The freedom you always dreamt of, Lotfia, well here it is, and you have got it. I can’t tell you how ecstatic I became; I was not in the least bit afraid; there was absolutely no fear“. Lotfia Elnadi describing her first flying experience. She began to make her work headlines by participating in the international race between Cairo and Alexandria in December 1933, her position was 26. After Amelia Earhart, Lotfia was the second woman in the world to join the fly solo race. Unfortunately, her career stopped after five years when she was injured in her spine in an accident, so she had to leave her job. A documentary film was made about her life and produced in 1996, with the title ” Take Off from the Sand”.
She was born in Kansas in July 1897. During world war I she served as a Red Cross nurse’s aid in Toronto, Canada. During this time she witnessed the pilots’ air trains. After the war, she returned to the U.S and joined the Colombia University. Emilia’s first airplane ride was in December 1920 with the famous world war I pilot Frank Hawaks. To get flying lessons with the female instructor Neta Snook, she had to work to pay for these lessons. She bought her first plane in later that year, a second-hand Kinner Arister, she called it “the Canary”. She passed her flying exam in December 1921 and received a National Aeronautics Association license. After two days, she participated in her first flying exhibition in California.
Earheart in 1922 became the first woman flying solo above 14,000 feet. In 1932 she became the first woman and the second pilot after Charles Lindbergh to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. After returning to the U.S, Congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross — a military decoration awarded for “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight“. She was the first woman to receive the honor. In 1937, Emilia took off with the navigator Fred Noonan, trying to fly all over the world, this was her second attempt to become the first pilot to do that. July 2nd was the last time when Emilia was seen alive in Howland Island as they lost radio contact. Also in July 1973 Emilia and Noonan were declared to be lost at sea.
Last, women have the ability to do anything at any time. It’s just about the chance they may get, pilot skill is not about gender, but hard work. The person who can take care of young babies can do anything. Flying is right for everyone whatever gender is.
- https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46071689 (Cover photo)