Saudi Female Pilots Granted Licenses But Activists Remain Detained

“I knocked many doors for a job, but the refusal is still going on under the pretext that women’s jobs as female captain do not exist.”



Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to introduce progressive reforms in Saudi Arabia continue to make headlines.

The ultraconservative kingdom lifted the women’s driving ban and now Saudi Arabia’s aviation regulator reportedly issued licenses to five female pilots.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) issued licenses to five females who are now set to work with the Saudi Arabian Airlines. Moreover, a flight school in the kingdom also said they would now admit female students in their school. 

However, this is not the first time female pilots will fly planes in an out of the kingdom.

In the past, female pilots flew aircrafts but on internationally issued licenses. This is the first time Saudi women will fly planes on local permits.

Yasmine Al Maymany is one of the five women to obtain a local permit. She obtained an international license after her honors from Jordon. Maymany completed all the requirements to obtain a local Saudi permit but said no one hired her because she was a woman.

“I couldn’t find any Saudi or Gulf airliners willing to recruit me because I am a woman, and couldn’t find a job in this industry despite the issuance of license from the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation,” she said.

Maymany  added, “I have a government license, and I have all the requirements needed for the job, however, we did not get the opportunity to work. I knocked many doors for a job, but the refusal is still going on under the pretext that women’s jobs as female captain do not exist, even though there are training institutes on aviation and there are institutes in Jeddah and Dammam.”

The kingdom said the move was part of a plan to empower women in the aviation field but in reality, women’s rights have still a long way to go in the country as activists remain detained for being vocal about pertinent issues.

In May, Saudi Arabia reportedly arrested 17 activists. Among those who were detained included women who challenged the kingdom by getting in cars and driving. The men who supported these women were also reportedly detained.

Adding to that list, two more women’s rights activists were recently arrested after the government launched a crackdown on activists, scholars and journalists, curtailing freedom of speech and a fight for rights in Saudi Arabia.

Bin Salman has successfully convinced his allies to fund his modern Saudi Arabia image, despite the fact that women have limited rights in the kingdom and need permission from male guardians to make decisions.

And as records of kingdom show those who disagree and protest in hopes of removing this sexism are called traitors and imprisoned for simply practicing activism.

The aggressive actions by the Saudi kingdom prove women’s rights still have no place in the crown prince's ambitious “Vision 2030.”

Banner / Thumbnail : BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

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