Airline company Ethiopian highly values the role women play in our society. The organization stands by the “Women Empowerment for a Sustainable Growth” core value. The airline company will do something it has never done before. On November 19th, 2015 an all-women crew will operate the Addis Ababa – Bangkok route. Ethiopia ranked 174th out of 184 countries in the United Nations 2011 Gender Development Index consequently, initiatives such as this one are welcomed with open arms.
Celebrating women’s achievements
This historical flight will be operated by females only. And by females only, we mean female deck members as well as female cabin crew members. On the ground, all operations from ticketing to ramp operations and traffic control will be carried out by women. Ethiopian’s CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam, said:
“Above all, this is an ample opportunity to inspire young African female students to believe in their dreams and embark to fill the skill gap for Aviation professionals. Women are the continent’s greatest untapped resources, and hereby fully dedicated to ensure the increase number of women in decision making positions on top of key operational areas by consistently grooming and mentoring successor female employees for top managerial, technical and operational positions. We invite the whole world to watch our all-female operated long haul flight to and from Bangkok.”
Taking care of women
30% of Ethiopian employees are women but they are misrepresented in positions such as pilots and technicians. Haymanot Endale, a 22-year-old cabin technician who has worked with the airline for two years is one of few female technicians. She is encouraging women to join the airline:
“I think that outside of the Ethiopian Airlines, girls think that the work is very difficult, so they did not enter [come work for] this company. But we enter and we see that it is very easy,” she told the press.
Africa’s most profitable airline is pursuing its underlying stance of being an equal opportunity employer. The company put in place a service targeted at new mothers. The company launched a nursing room equipped with modern amenities, comfortable reclining chairs, and refrigerators to store breast milk. Way to go Ethiopian!
A similar initiative was accomplished in Southern Africa not too long ago. Air Zimbabwe made history when an all-women operated flight, commanded by co-pilots Chipo M. Matimba and Elizabeth Simbi Petros, carried passengers from Harare to Victoria Falls.