The under-representation of women’s achievements in the media is a serious problem, which perpetuates gender inequality. Research has found that there is a general under-representation of women in the media, but social media possess the potential to highlight and mainstream women’s contributions, and achievements in various sectors of the economy. 

The achievements of women in the aviation industry have started getting due attention in the media, which is essential to break stereotypes, and inspire young women.

In order to inspire the younger generation of girls to pursue careers in the aviation industry, women in the sector recently resolved to use social media regularly to inspire the younger generation of girls to consider careers in the industry.

Recently, a discussion was held under the Women in Aviation conference to discuss how to empower women and create greater job opportunities for them in the aviation sector. The conference was held on the sidelines of the Airport Show 2019, held on May 1 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre in the United Arab Emirates, UAE.

File picture: Ethiopian Airlines launches first flight with an all-female crew Photo: Ethiopian Airlines/Twitter

The conference featured a stellar line-up of inspiring speakers (key female officials and senior managers working in aviation, aerospace and space across the Middle East and Africa), supported by leading global aviation companies, which are committed to improving diversity in the aviation industry. The women working in  the aviation industry who attended the conference resolved to use social media more regularly to inspire the younger generation of girls to pursue careers in the industry.

At This is Africa, we have taken it upon ourselves to use social media to share and celebrate the achievements made by African  women in aviation and this has been one of our major focus in the past few years.

The achievements of women appear less in the mainstream media and when they do, their contributions are typically downplayed or subject to stereotypical reporting. We really need to address this challenge, and social media plays a key role to highlight the contributions of women to inspire girls to aspire for careers in the aviation industry.

Major Mandisa Mfeka photo credit. Mandisa Mfeka /Facebook

Over the past few years there has been an impressive and ever-growing league of African women in aerospace who are challenging sexist views that have limited their gender. While Africa got its first female pilot in 1964, for many years thereafter women did not rise to take on the mantle. Instead women filled the ranks of flight attendants, leaving the men to dominate the leading roles of aviation and avionics. However, with the number of educated and empowered women rising, so do their numbers in male-dominated fields. There is need to continue highlighting some of the women who are breaking barriers in African skies to inspire young girls.

We recently shared the inspirational story of Mandisa Mfeka who joined the South African Air Force in 2008 and earned her wings a year after starting flying school in 2010. Mfeka is now South Africa’s first black female combat pilot, and her story is indeed a remarkable one. Mfeka also uses social media (Facebook @WingedSpanner) to inspire young girls and women to spread their wings, and we certainly hope more women will use social media to share their inspirational stories to encourage others to join the aviation and avionics industry.