Women flying high in aviation industry
Durban - Superwomen in the aviation industry will today be celebrating the strength and courage of women who fought with their blood, time and tears for the freedoms enjoyed by all today. Playing essential roles at King Shaka International Airport, Nokuthula Mcinga, Azwifaneli Mphaphuli and Amanda Khwela all agree that the past struggles laid the foundation for all women today.
Mcinga, senior operational governance manager, joined the airport as an environmental specialist. But when the organisation went through restructuring, she was promoted to her current role. Her experience in safety, risk and environmental management made her the right person for the job.
“My role includes provision of assurance to business operations in areas of governance, risk, airport safety, environment, aviation security and compliance. It is also aimed at ensuring standards and regulations are adhered to and maintained,” she said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to plan a day, as the aviation environment is dynamic, highly regulated and very exciting.”
For Mcinga, Women’s Day is for celebrating the achievements of women and their contributions in shaping society and the world politically, culturally, economically, and socially.
“Women are a cornerstone of every part of society and while having to deal with issues of gender injustice, violence, inequality and sex discrimination. This is then a day for acknowledging women’s contribution and successes.”
Mcinga said the soaring number of gender-based violence incidents was disheartening.
“At times I feel as a society, we fail each other as some of these killings could be avoided by doing the right thing, standing up and encouraging victims to speak out without fear of stigma and judgement.”
Mcinga said legislation alone won’t prevent gender-based violence, but there needs to be proactive strategies that involve the public.
Mphaphuli, an assistant general manager in the client and passenger services department, is responsible for driving programmes that improve and enhance service quality. She had always dreamt about becoming a pilot when she was younger but sees her role in the organisation as “meant to be”.
“The aviation industry never ceases to amaze me, it is complex and there is so much to learn, no one day is the same. It is full of ‘aha!’ moments,” she said.
On a typical day, Mphaphuli chairs meetings with various teams on assigned projects, attends presentations, stakeholder meetings and also conducts analysis on performances. She encouraged young women who aspire to work in her industry to take every opportunity that they are exposed to and to use it to learn new things.
Khwela, senior human resources manager, said the day to celebrate women was important as it acknowledged how far we have come as a country.
“We are honouring the heroines who paved the way for us but, most importantly, honouring the queens that make daily sacrifices to raise families, pursue careers and are pillars within society,” she said.
Khwela said her strategic role in the organisation required her to assist the business to achieve its goals. She said this was partly achieved by working together with business leaders to deliver customised and forward-looking solutions, programmes and policies.