Flying High: Women in the Airline Industry

By: Erika Moye

More and more women are thriving in male-dominated industries—from construction to filmmaking and even the airline business!

As of March, women can now apply to be pilots of Iran’s national airline, Iran Air. Although they were allowed to pilot airplanes previously, women have always been unable to fly the planes or work for the country’s national airline. This is another gigantic step forward for the women of Iran and the dissipating of the gender bias in society.

Homa, the specific airline opening and offering these opportunities, includes 16 percent women as middle managers, 5 women in the top managerial positions, and just last summer, aeronautical engineering professor, Farzaneh Sharafbafi, became the first woman CEO of Iran Air in its history!

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Sharafbafi announced the first women hired as pilots by Iran Air will begin as co-pilots finally giving them a space in the national airline. “Women play a key role in the social development as well as the realization of social justice in a society,” she stated. “The world is paying more serious attention to the role of women in the society.”

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In the Bahamas, meet Sherrexcia Rolle, the Vice President of Operations and General Counsel at Western Air Limited, the largest privately-owned airline there. Raised in Andros, Bahamas and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Rolle—nicknamed Rexy since birth—began making an impact on her family business in the aviation industry. She gives a lot of thanks and credit to her parents for her business development skills and experience due to their willingness to educate her on the ins and outs of entrepreneurship and their business.

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Her parents founded Western Air in 2001, and ever since, she became actively involved in the decisions and choices made at the airline’s startup. Although she does more negotiating than flying in the industry, Rolle is presently training as a pilot with currently 44 flight hours.

“I hope to encourage by example,” she says. “I want to demonstrate the results when you combine big dreams, faith, hard work, and persistence. It’s important not to take your opportunities (whatever they may be) for granted.”

Women are succeeding in the fields many believe they cannot. There’s literally nothing in the workforce that we can’t do!

Want more information on Sherrexcia Rolle?

Instagram: @RexyIsland