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EghtesadOnline: The Iranian aviation industry, which employs about 30,000 people, is generally known to be a male-dominated domain.

According to Maqsoud As’adi Samani, secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines, although there is no accurate data on the share of male and female employees, it is not wrong to assume that the role of women in the industry is meager.

"However, things are changing and it seems more women are taking up more positions in Iran's aviation industry," he said.

In July, Farzaneh Sharafbafi officially became the first woman in history to take charge of the country's flag carrier Iran Air, otherwise known as Homa, according to Financial Tribune.

At the First International Civil Aviation Exhibition, Financial Tribune learned about a venture focused on women in the aviation industry: The Association of Women in Iran's Aviation Industry.

Being held for the first time in Iran, AERO PERSIA 2017 opened at Tehran’s International Permanent Fairgrounds on September 15 and concluded on Sunday, with the aim of paving the way for increased engagement of credible international companies in Iran to keep the country's aviation industry up-to-date.

The association was established in December 6, 2016, with the aim of highlighting women's endeavors and dedication in this industry.

"Our main objective is to put forward a competency-based view regarding women in this industry and diminish gender-based views," Fahimeh Ahmadi Dastjerdi, the founder and managing director of the association, said.

One of the few women pilots in Iran, Dastjerdi started working in the industry in 2006 as a flight engineer.

The Association of Women in Iran's Aviation Industry covers women working in the Iranian aviation industry, including pilots, flight attendants, dispatchers and those working at airport traffic control tower, maintenance sections and offices.

"Being newly-established, the association currently has under 100 members," she said.

"The presumption in the society is that the aviation industry is male-oriented. You may only see female pilots or flight attendants but there are many women behind the scenes working tirelessly in this industry to make everything go smoothly,"

Dastjerdi said lack of sponsorship is a major issue for our association.

She believes lack of trust and the prevailing views in this industry have got in the way of women to have the necessary self-esteem to enter this industry.

Zahra Salehian, the only female aviation medical assessor at Iran's Civil Aviation Organization and a prominent member of the association, told Financial Tribune that the establishment of the association certainly helps women in the industry gain more recognition but they still have a long and very difficult way to go.

"Financial issues have stopped us from putting our good ideas into action. If we get a good sponsor, we can achieve great things," Salehian said.

She started working in 1992 at Iran Air.

"When a woman wants to enter an industry that men have taken over, there is a lot of resistance, so patience is key and women can prove themselves by showing their capabilities and boosting their knowledge," she said.


Iran Aviation Iran aviation industry Farzaneh Sharafbafi