In commemoration of the International Women’s Day and to support ICAO’s Young Aviation Professionals Programme, Mrs. Aanu Benson, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Overland Airways Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading airlines has called for increased women participation in the aviation industry.
Mrs. Benson notes that the industry is fast expanding and over the next decade there would be critical need for pilots, air traffic controllers, engineers and other skilled professionals and women must play a significant role in ensuring that these needs are effectively met.
“It is not accidental that the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Balance for Better’. It has come at a time when both men and women in the industry need to step up participation and contribution in order to achieve our desired goals. As a woman who has had a successful career in the Nigerian industry, I remain committed to ensuring that more women are given the opportunity to pursue their ambitions. Women should not be put in charge because they are women but it should be about the competence and value being added. Women both young and old should put in more into self development. It should be about capacity and not just gender,” Mrs. Benson says.
“At Overland Airways, we have women who are taking the lead in technical, administrative and managerial areas of our work. We remain committed to investing in our employees regardless of their gender. Capacity and efficiency have been our focus,” she adds.
While commending the efforts of groups who have pushed for more women participation in the industry, she commends associations like the Women in Aviation, Nigeria Chapter (WAIN), Association of Professional Women Engineers In Nigeria (APWEN), the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programme and many others who have contributed largely in taking the message to the grassroots. These have encouraged more female participation including young girls in these areas. Mrs. Benson therefore calls upon more women to increase action in this regard emphasizing that it is time for women to “build smart, think smart and to also be creative.”
Noting that Africa has seen an encouraging increase in the percentage of women participation in the aviation industry, she calls for more coordinated action. She says: “Very important to note is that we need to begin to channel our resources into developing the next generation regardless of their gender.”