Amsale Gualu, The first Ethiopian female captain
Piloting is considered to be of the most attractive career ventures and Ethiopia one of the countries in the world where gender equality has faced and still faces a bit of a rocky history. However, we find ourselves as of 2010, with the first Ethiopian female Pilot which is a strong promise that our women, if determined, will not let anything hold them back from getting to their goals.
Amsale Gualu was born in Bahirdar and raised in Addis Ababa. She attended Elementary school at Assai Public school and high school at Bole secondary school. She applied to Ethiopian airlines but didn’t get in so she went on to study for a BA in architecture and urban planning at Addis Ababa University. After having made the necessary preparations on the things she lacked in the first round of her application to Ethiopian Airlines, she reapplied four years later and got accepted. She graduated in 2002 as the number six female pilot. After completing her required 4475 hours as co-pilot, she finally earned her captaincy in 2010 flying an Ethiopian airlines Bombardier from Addis Ababa to Gondar.
“When I was small, my father used to take us to the airport to watch the planes take flight and land.” She said at an interview with Ethiopian Television. “And at that age I did not have any understanding of the airplanes besides the fact they got up and flew. But it definitely sparked my ambition to become a pilot.”
She also spoke of how she never intended to be the first at anything but that she just worked to the best of her ability to reach to the highest level that the career could offer and that she would continue to do so.
Amsale Gulalu mentioned renowned female Ethiopian pilots that came before her such as Asegedech Asfaw, the first Ethiopian female pilot and Muluemebet Emiru, who had to quit piloting when Fascist invaded Ethiopia, as her heroes and she highlighted on how difficult it must have been for these women to try to pursue such expensive careers dominated by men.
She said she would like to see more women achieving great things in their respective careers stating, “If you are prepared, you can do it. You shouldn’t give up because you think it is difficult.”