FATIMA GWADABE: A LEGENDARY FEMALE PILOT

Fatima Gwadabe is a Pilot in Max Air and the first female pilot in the history of aviation in Kano State. She is stationed in Kano and flies Max Air’s Boeing 737 series mostly seeing on Kano—Abuja—Lagos routes. Gwadabe was born in Kano. She graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Geography.

How do you feel to have achieved this accomplishment of being the first female pilot in Northern Nigeria?
To start with, there are few other female pilots from the north. I’m the first from my home state (Kano).
Having completed my flight training and working as a full-time commercial pilot was a dream come true. I received wide praise and acclaim for attaining such a feat.

How would you manage as a female officer considering that you have a big role to play ahead?

The quest to continue my inspirational journey for young girls in Nigeria is dear to my heart. I hope to start a foundation encouraging and empowering girls to pursue a career in aviation.

What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field?

The biggest challenge was gender misconceptions, sometimes passengers are not comfortable flown by a female pilot, they ask questions like, “Are you the pilot? Are you flying us? Aren’t you scared? Ohh it’s a woman? Oh, she’s girlish!!”
Every time someone drops comments like that, I usually smile politely and don’t have any response.
The aircraft itself doesn’t recognize gender, both men and women receive an equivalent amount of training. The whole aviation world is regarding knowledge and information, it’s all about actions imposed by the pilot and responses returned by the airplane.
I consistently tell people you don’t need big muscles to carry the plane on your head. Whoever is doing the job, is the best fit for it, pilots should be treated equally!

How did you overcome them?

I love flying and love the people I work with, they are very experienced and friendly they are very supportive and never thought a woman can’t be a pilot, my friends did but never my colleagues. They are a team of people who feel responsible for each other and help each other.

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women willing to become Pilot?

Aviation is a male-dominated field, yet women are choosing it as a career, all the same, I ventured into it and I believe I am equal to it, there’s no big deal. If I can do it, you can do it and anybody else.

International Women’s Day celebrates the scientific, political, economic and social achievements of women. In your experience as a successful woman, what is the significance of the day?

It’s a day worth celebrating, the initiative is aimed at gender equality and celebrating women’s achievements and helping women gain full and equal participation in global development.
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Got a dream? Believe in yourself and pursue it down. Defeat can never remain an option, be determined, be dedicated, be disciplined.
Success doesn’t come from giving up!

Tell us more on the significance of Girl Child education?

Girl child education is crucial for the development of a nation. When we educate them, the benefits are perceived throughout the community.
Women are involved in all sorts of activities both at a regional and community level, Hence it is profoundly important to provide quality education to help them contribute to the development of the nation in a meaningful way.

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