The aviation industry is a field that is still disproportionate when it comes to gender balanced roles. Most roles for women are still as cabin crew and ground staff. However, in heartening news, Nouf Al Afifi, an Emirati woman has made the nation proud by being the first ever woman Air Traffic Controller. Moreover, she is the only woman employed in the capacity so far.
Al Afifi, who underwent the General Civil Aviation Authority’s extended training programme, has been employed at the Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Centre since 2011. The navigation centre is an extremely competitive arena and is one of the busiest in the region, controlling the airspace around Dubai International Airport.
Al Afifi says that she overcame a lot of challenges and negative perceptions when she first began her job. Nonetheless, she has gained the respect and admiration of her male co-workers by her hard work and commitment to professional excellence.