Afghanistan’s First All-Female Flight Crew Emblematic of Gains in the Workplace
The Afghan private airline Kam Air recently conducted a 90-minute flight from Kabul to Herat with an all-female crew. This is a first for Afghanistan and a new milestone for Afghan women. Flying the Boeing 737 was a 22-year old Afghan pilot, Mohadese Mirzaee, joined by Captain Veronica Borysova and four Afghan female crewmembers. According to the Insider, YouTuber Josh Cahill, a popular airline reviewer and traveler, was also invited on board to record the flight as part of an International Women’s Day Documentary.
The all-female flight is indicative of the progress Afghan women have made and continue to make despite cultural barriers and threats to their safety. Afghan women are an integral part of the private and public sector in today’s Afghanistan, so it is not surprising they are fueling growth in the country’s nascent aviation industry. Aviation is among the most competitive, sought-after career fields, and Kam Air is a leading private sector company. Outside of aviation, Afghan women work in nearly all industries including medical, legal, education, media, academia, the arts, politics, the military.
A recent survey released by the Afghanistan Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry points towards a growing trend of female entrepreneurship in Afghanistan. There are nearly 60,000 women-owned businesses throughout the country that are responsible for creating over 130,000 jobs, including over 100,000 jobs for women. Nearly all of these businesses are self-funded, making this collective group of Afghan women one of the largest sources of private sector investment, and employment in the country.
Just twenty years ago, there were less than 50,000 girls enrolled in Afghan schools, and women faced a significant risk of violence and persecution if they ventured outside the home. Today, there are more than 3.5 million Afghan girls in school and women currently maintain essential roles in a democratic Islamic society whose constitution guarantees their rights and freedom. As the peace process enters its next phase of substantive negotiations, it is imperative that all sides recognize the importance of Afghan women in society and the important role they serve rebuilding and revitalizing Afghanistan’s economy.
Happy International Women's Day!