ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Ethiopian Airlines is one of the premier international carriers operating throughout Africa and major hubs globally. Whenever we travel to Africa for the Zimbabwe Farm Project, we fly Ethiopian Airlines. Long known as one of the safest airlines on the Continent, the recent tragedy was an aberration. A defining ethos of the airline among other things, is its commitment to women’s empowerment, as evidenced by the fact that 35% of the company's 16,000-strong workforce is female.
The airline’s hiring practices speak to its vanguard status as a proponent of gender equality in Africa. In an era when women’s rights are under assault globally, it is crucial to recognize an organization where highly trained professionals responsible for the lives of so many happen to be female.
The practice of hiring and promoting women to greater levels of responsibility is no accident. Ethiopian Airlines implemented initiatives designed to provide women in the workforce with opportunities normally reserved for men. It is a strategy which has been deliberative, and as Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GabreMariam “explained that initiative celebrates women on a continent where ’gender inequality still persists.’
The all-female-crew on 8 March 2019 flew from Addis Ababa to Stockholm-Oslo using female ground crews, flight dispatchers, load controllers, ramp operators, on-board logistics staff, safety and security personnel, catering service, as well as air-traffic controllers.
Ethiopian Airlines joins other carriers which have honored International Women’s Day by organizing all-female-flights such as Air India and British Airways. On 8 March 2018, British Airways London Heathrow to Glasgow flight was facilitated by over 60 women as featured in this U.K produced video.
Disclosure: I have not been paid to write this article, nor do I have any financial stake in the company, and the opinions expressed are based upon personal experience.