The first ever Global Aviation Gender Summit is to begin in Cape Town on Wednesday. Around 500 top aviation representatives will be discussing equality and gender transformation in the aviation industry for the next three days.
South African Airways Pilot, Fatima Jakoet who will be attending the summit says access and exposure to the aviation industry for young South African women remains a challenge.
Jakoet started the Sakhikamva Foundation to improve the situation but she believes more can be done. The Harvard Graduate believes more learners need to be exposed to the possibilities within the aviation field.
She says: ‘There’s also a challenge in the school curriculum. There is not enough exposure for our youth and our learners in order to pursue a career. It’s seen as a strange untouchable career but we need to change that mindset.”
In addition to her hectic flying schedule, Jakoet also teachers learners at the Cape Academy of Mathematics Science and Technology. Some learners are keen to follow in her foot steps.
“Being a pilot is something that I am very interested in just the feeling of being in the air the adrenalin rush. Ever since I was a little girl my dad took me to an airfield and I loved being around it was exhilrating me being ariund airplanes.”
Air Traffic control is also something that is seen as a highly qualified profession in the aviation industry. Manager of Air Traffic Services in Cape Town, Katlego Sebopa says it’s important that women know they are more than qualified to manage and work in such a positions.
“I Think its more of an opportunity, sort of break down the misconception females cannot operate air traffic control misconception really is based that women are not perhaps as assertive, as confident and are able to operate at a high capacity level. We have shown now that I have been in the industry for 18 years and there’s been women before me as well and shown that we are capable of doing it.”
The summit is aimed at unlocking finances and education for women wishing to enter the aviation industry. It ends on Friday.
Below Rezaan Captieux, a young female commercial pilot in training talks about challenges she has faced.[Source: SABC]