First ever all-female flight crew lands in a country where women aren’t allowed to drive

The first ever all-female flight crew has flown a jetliner from Brunei to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

There’s an ironic twist to the milestone, considering that women aren’t even allowed to drive in the country where they landed.

The occasion marked Brunei’s National Day, which celebrates the country’s independence. Captain Sharifah Czarena Surainy, Senior First Officer Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem and Senior First Officer Sariana Nordin flew flight BI081 to the Middle Eastern country on 23 February, but news of the occasion is just now starting to make the rounds on social media.

Just over three years ago, Captain Sharifa Czarena Surainy became the first female captain of a flag carrier in Southeast Asia.

“Being a pilot, people normally see it as being a male dominant occupation,” she said to the Brunei Times in 2012.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 6.51.36 PM
Via the Independent (Twitter)

“As a woman, a Bruneian woman, it is such a great achievement. It’s really showing the younger generation or the girls especially that whatever they dream of, they can achieve it,” she added.

From the Independent:

[Royal Brunei Airlines] is committed to getting more women into the industry as it currently offers an Engineering Apprentice [program] to both males and females.

But the airline’s landmark voyage also highlighted the restrictions women still face in Saudi Arabia. Although there is no law that prohibits women from driving, it is a rule imposed by conservative Muslim clerics.

Hopefully, the occasion will light a fire under a social media campaign demanding that women are afforded more rights in a nation known for its human rights abuses.

 Featured image via Royal Brunei Airlines

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.

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