Her dream has truly taken off
Being noted as the first Emirati woman in the UAE to secure a Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL) makes her feel proud.
Dubai - As someone who interacts with women on a daily basis, the 20-something Al Rousi said she always makes sure to pass on that feeling of empowerment to them - even if not everyone supports the idea.
Published: Fri 25 Aug 2017, 8:55 PM
Last updated: Fri 25 Aug 2017, 11:04 PM
When you ask Ghada Al Rousi what being an Emirati woman means to her, she says there is one word which comes to mind: "Proud".
And being noted as the first Emirati woman in the UAE to secure a Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL), she said that makes her feel even more proud.
Back in 2015, Al Rousi became the first female pilot to join the Air Arabia crew, and today, she has more than 1,000 hours of flying under her belt. Noting herself as an adrenaline seeker from a young age, it was always her dream to fly a plane. And now that dream has well and truly taken off.
"Thanks to god, I have had great support from my country, Air Arabia and Alpha Aviation Academy. I underwent so much pressure during my training process but the help I received was phenomenal."
Speaking to Khaleej Times ahead of the Emirati Women's Day, Al Rousi said what she admires and loves about her country is how women are at the frontline, paving the way for the UAE's future.
"Today, Emirati women are pilots, engineers, doctors, and everything in between. There is no bias."
As someone who interacts with women on a daily basis, the 20-something Al Rousi said she always makes sure to pass on that feeling of empowerment to them - even if not everyone supports the idea.
"Sadly, in my industry, the feeling on female pilots is mixed. This is the case the world over. Some people see a woman pilot and feel proud and happy, but others can't grasp the idea, like they don't trust us. I've even had people say to my face: "If I see you in a plane, I will not get on". I simply tell them: "okay, then don't".
Citing self-belief as the strongest attribute in a person, Al Rousi said when she speaks to women and young girls with similar dreams and passions to her, she always tells them to fight for those dreams.
"This country supports us as women, as citizens, as human beings, so we should use that support to achieve what we want to achieve. But you need that drive within yourself too. That is the only obstacle."
Reminiscing on a flight she took to Amman, Jordan, it was the words of an old man which really stuck with her.
"He was on the flight with me and he sent me a letter saying he felt proud to see a female pilot. Then he said he hopes that one day his daughter will be like me. That was a powerful and touching thing he did."
When asked how she thinks the world views Emirati women today, Al Rousi said she hopes it's in a positive light.
"I think today they see us as people who are developing their careers without any restrictions and they are on the frontline of everything they had put on their minds."
Societal misconceptionBut when it comes to misconceptions about women in the Middle East, she is hoping her story will help shatter some of those views.
"I think the biggest misconception people have about women here is that they don't have rights and they cannot work, especially in male dominated industries."
But as a woman who was born, raised and has achieved success in the UAE, her message is loud and clear.
"We have just as many opportunities to work and make a stamp on the workplace as men, and I think more and more, the world is starting to realise this. I live here and I work here and all I see is equality."
And when it comes to her biggest role models in life, Al Rousi said it's the work of two Emirati women that has inspired her to reach far and above the average in life.
"I have no doubts in naming my role models in life. That would be Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance and Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State. What I see in them is something I hugely admire. They are always active and they have and are doing so much for the UAE. It is that work ethos which inspires me."