Etihad Airways will mark the inaugural Emirati Women’s Day by hosting a series of events under the theme of ‘Celebrating Emirati Women in Aviation’. The airline will focus on raising awareness of the important role Emirati women play in aviation and will demonstrate the immense and diverse opportunities this vital economic sector can present for women.
Announced by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, to highlight the achievements of women in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and their critical role in society, the auspicious occasion will be marked on 28 August every year.
Etihad Airways will join the UAE in celebrating Emirati Women’s Day through a series of events and activities, starting today with a high-profile panel discussion and the profile of 20 employees, highlighting the diverse and unconventional role Emirati women have played in the aviation industry and their contribution to future growth and development.
Mona Walid, Etihad Airways Vice President Talent Acquisition, said: “Since the launch of Etihad Airways in 2003, we have focused our efforts on attracting and developing young Emirati men and women in equal measure to be future aviation leaders at national and global levels.
“Emiratis represent 25 per cent of our UAE based workforce, excluding cabin crew. We currently employ 1,269 Emirati women covering various roles, representing 49 per cent of a total of 2,560 UAE nationals in our workforce. These include 46 female pilots and five engineers and technicians. Our Vice President Medical Services, Dr Nadia Bastaki, is also the first Emirati woman to be registered as a specialist in aviation medicine.”
The panel discussion, which took place at Etihad Airways’ headquarters in Abu Dhabi, saw five successful women with aerospace and aviation experience sharing insights into on their careers and shedding light on the opportunities and challenges faced when stepping out of their traditional roles.
Proceedings were initiated with a keynote video speech by the UAE’s first female pilot, Captain Aysha Al Hamili, who is the Permanent Representative of the UAE on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), based in Montreal.
Captain Al Hamili said: “I continue to be inspired by those who make a change and have an impact on our society. Our leaders are our source of inspiration; they teach us that there is nothing impossible if we worked hard to achieve it.
“I applaud Etihad Airways, as the national airline, for its pro-active support and for providing the opportunities for the professional development of Emirati women in the industry.”
With an audience of 130 female professionals and students, the aim of the panel discussion was to raise awareness of the roles of women in the aerospace and aviation industry and to encourage female Emirati students to pursue careers in all areas of the sector, including commercial, technical, engineering and aeromedical.
Etihad Airways employs 500 Emirati women in its commercial departments including sales and marketing. The airline’s award-winning Contact Centre in Al Ain is exclusively managed and operated by 160 women who play a critical role in maximising revenue and showcasing its commitment to excellent customer service.
The number of Emirati women enrolling in Etihad Airways’ unique Aviation Bachelor of Science degree program at Abu Dhabi University, which was introduced to support the growth of Etihad Airways’ Cadet Pilot Program, is steadily on the rise. Approximately 30 per cent of the first-year students and 20 per cent in all four years of the course, are women. In aviation courses elsewhere in the world, women only comprise between eight and 12 per cent.
The empowerment of women remains at the heart of Etihad Airways’ Emiratisation strategy and it is deeply committed to supporting UAE women to succeed as the nation’s future leaders, on an equal footing with men.
*Figure excludes cabin crew residing in the UAE.