SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY, DR. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA FIRST LADY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI
AT THE SPECIAL RECEPTION MARKING MALAWI AIRLINES’ FIRST EVER ALL-WOMEN OPERATED AND SUPPORTED FLIGHT AT KAMUZU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN LILONGWE THURSDAY 16TH MARCH, 2017
Today is a historical day.
We have gathered at this place to witness history as it unfolds right before our eyes.
For those who are still doubting, we are here to make a valid proclamation that women empowerment is finally here to stay.
And let me emphatically add that this first ever All-Women Flight has confirmed that sky is no longer the limit for women.
Today, women have come to demolish all boundaries that kept us confined in certain narrow spaces for far too long.
This All-Women Flight has made history for Malawian Women as we have now pushed the frontiers way beyond imagination.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our journey to women empowerment has not been easy.
The road has been bumpy and at times thorny.
The aviation sector has been a predominantly male dominated since first airplane took to the skies in 1903.
You Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Join me in saluting Yolanda and Lusekelo for breaking the record.
You have done us proud by increasing diversity in the cockpit.
You have set the pace in closing the gender gap in the aviation industry in Malawi.
Let me also salute the women who have successfully operated the Air Traffic Control Tower.
Yes, you have demonstrated that Women can, and yes we can.
I also wish to appreciate the beautiful and hardworking women who have successfully handled all operations in the Check-in, Customer care, and Ground handling areas, and your services is not only expected, it is also exceptional, this is extraordinary.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are gathered here to pay tribute to the role women play in society.
Just last week we were celebrating International Women’s Day under the theme “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.”
Here in Malawi we celebrated the Day under the localized theme “Closing the Gender Gap in the World of Work by 2030.”
The theme calls on all of us to double our effort to create a more gender-inclusive society.
Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today’s event is a clear indication that Malawi Airlines has already started walking the talk in as far as closing the gender gap is concerned.
It is commendable to note that women constitute 36 percent of staff at Malawi Airlines and that out of 12 pilots, two are women.
This is indeed a positive development and I can only urge you to keep training more women as pilots so that next time we can talk of 50:50 ratio.
I am particularly happy to hear that one of the main aims of the All-women operated and supported flight today is to encourage young girls who wish to pursue a career in civil aviation but are afraid to do so thinking aviation is too technical and therefore only suitable for boys.
My message to young girls is that Malawi Airlines has demonstrated to you that there is no field which is a no-go zone for women including aviation. So the ball is in your court.
Yolanda, Lusekelo and the flight crew have done it…
You can also do it….
Yes, You can!!!
You can become a Pilot just like Yolanda and Lusekelo.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Join me, therefore, in congratulating the Chief Executive Officer for Malawi Airlines and your entire staff for making history with this special event which obviously puts Malawi on the world map.
Again congratulations to you for demonstrating to us that, women too are as capable of doing great exploits as their male counterparts.
To Captain Yolanda, First Officer Lusekelo and the entire women crew in command of today’s special flight, I say bravo to you; you have made the nation proud, and you have beautified the skies.
As a matter of fact, you have given a new dimension to BEAM – Beautify Malawi (BEAM) Trust.
At BEAM we encourage, support, and motivate girls to pursue education.
At BEAM we believe that education makes girls beautiful and it is only education that makes people smart and therefore likely to take care of their environment.
The All-women Flight has therefore given BEAM its true meaning and I hope that Yolanda and Lusekelo will become BEAM ambassadors and champions of girls education and women empowerment.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Allow me also to congratulate Malawi Airlines for adding two more destinations to Nairobi and Zanzibar.
This is exciting news not only to the traveling public but also to government because it shows that our national flag carrier is growing.
In conclusion let me make a special appeal to all of us. Always fly Malawi Airlines, where possible.
This is our national pride and we all need to support it.
Let me wish Yolanda, Lusekelo and all cabin crew all the best to, and to all women Cabin crew, as they proceed to Dar-es-Salaam on this historical All-Women Flight.
God Bless our girls, God Bless all Women, God Bless our beautiful country, Malawi
I Thank You.