With the speed of technology these days and the vast information that is out there, I wonder at times how many people stumble upon articles about us (about me). What is the image that is being portrayed about us online? How do we deal with that perception of us whether we are painted in a positive or negative way? How often do we want to reinvent ourselves due to those reviews? How true are these painted words about us?
Being one of the few females working in the aviation world of Samoa (however small that is) I am continuously reminded of those women who went before me. The few females who paved the world that was and is still very much predominantly male. There is a reason why the flight deck area is called a 'cockpit' after all. These are some of the women that overcame numerous challenges so that people like me can enjoy the benefits of aviation.
Of course the men cannot be downgraded, they are a part of the aviation world but nowhere near challenged bombarded like us. I remember when I first applied to be a pilot at the Massey University Aviation School. One of my teachers in high school strongly discouraged me from applying simply because I 'will not get in'. I wondered if it was due to me being a Pacific Islander or that my Math skills weren't as shiny (I gave up on Math a long time ago), maybe both.
"NO' and "YOU CANNOT" are two phrases that simply leads to more determination on my part. I come from a place where women do not sit idly while life goes by, where tama'ita'i do not let the men do all the talking while they take the back seat, where women do not shy away from the hard and rugged road. I come from a place where women are warrior queens, where women take courage in the face of animosity and take a challenge when their souls say so. In the words of a true warrior queen -Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel “E au le ina’ilau o Tina ma tama’itai.” translated to English “The legacy of women is one of total achievement.”
I ignored what my highschool Dean of Students told me, I went ahead and applied and was one of the five girls in the whole course. It was no easy feat, we had to work twice as hard as the men. You don't have to be an Einstein to fly a plane but it is not easy feat either. In the end, the women graduated and to this day, I know that four of us are still in the aviation industry.
You might ask, ok so what does the first part of this article have to do with the mini testimony in the second part? There may be a substantial amount of information about us on the internet these days, our facebook pages might be splashed with glamorous shots (or not) and our Linkedin profiles might speak of great achievements (or not). These bleeps of our stories do not give a full picture of our journeys, they do not define or validate us, they are just that---bleeps. So next time you ask someone what they do make sure you ask them the following
- what their story is
- what their journey is like
- the challenges they faced along the way
- if that experience has added value to their lives
I'd like to add a link of the small bleep that is my aerosexual or my aviation aficionado side (acidionado defined)...my journey through the aviation folds.
|Me flying a B787 Dreamliner simulator @ the Boeing HQ in Singapore before the actual plane entered the market|
If you are a young woman (which I once was and still am at times) and if you want to take up aviation, do not let a person or fear hold you back. If you want to be a pilot, go for it. If you want to be an airline manager, go for it. If you want to be an air traffic controller, flight inspector, aviation specialist, ground handler, baggage handler, aviation consultant ....there are endless possibilities. Life is what you make of it. Take that step and never look back :)
If you are interested in aviation and have some questions, feel free to leave a comment and I shall try my best to answer.
aerosexual defined by the Urban dictionary -
- someone who loves planes and generally flies them. Also know as a pilot. Usually face large dilemmas such as choosing between the curveness of a Cirrus SR22, verse the tenderness of handling a piper
- the industry term for aviation aficionados (I like this one)