Boss Barbie and girls in the sky: FlySafair and Mattel encourage young girls to pursue aviation

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FlySafair has partnered with Barbie to educate young girls about careers in aviation.

FlySafair has partnered with Barbie to educate young girls about careers in aviation.

  • FlySafair and Barbie recently collaborated to educate South African girls about aviation careers.
  • The initiative aims to challenge gender stereotypes about aviation, showcasing diverse roles from pilots to engineers.
  • The airline has also implemented programmes to encourage female participation in aviation for a balanced workforce.
  • For more stories, visit the Tech and Trends homepage.

FlySafair and Barbie have come together to educate young South African girls about careers in aviation.

From soaring through the clouds as a pilot to ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers as part of the cabin crew, and keeping the aircraft safely intact as an aircraft engineer, the initiative seeks to highlight aviation careers, many of which are currently male-dominated.  

This is not the first time Barbie has partnered with an airline. Five years ago, toy manufacturing conglomerate Mattel, which invented the Barbie doll, partnered with British airline Virgin Atlantic to launch special edition Barbie dolls that pursued various careers in aviation.

For that campaign, Pilot Barbie wore complete aviation uniform while Engineer Barbie wore safety gear and Cabin Crew Barbie donned a red flight attendant uniform.

Attracting girls into aviation

FlySafair also has other initiatives aimed at propelling women into aviation.

Said FlySafair marketing manager Maryke Pienaar: “We have a specific cadet training programme where we have been lucky enough to have female cadets come through the ranks and qualify as first officers.

“Our cabin attendants training programme also provides training for those who would like to enter the world of aviation through a more service-driven role, [and] we train both males and females in this programme.

“Ultimately, we strive to make the work environment as inclusive and accessible to both men and women so that we can hire the best person for the job, irrespective of gender. We’re glad that, overall, we currently have a near-50/50 split of male and female employees.” 


Young girls and aviation professionals.


FlySafair cabin crew.

Here are some career fields to consider in aviation:

  • Pilot: Works in conjunction with a co-pilot to transport people or goods on a plane, helicopter or other aircraft;
  • Cabin crew: Also known as flight attendants, they ensure that customers fly smoothly by providing in-flight hospitality services;
  • Maintenance programme analyst: Normally, these professionals have an engineering background and they work to ensure regular servicing and maintenance of aircraft, and keep track of all changes made by aircraft manufacturers;
  • Aircraft technician: Various members of the aircraft engineering team constitute aircraft technicians and work to tighten bolts, fix wires and any other issues that pop up, and ensure that aircraft is safe and suitable to fly;
  • Safety quality manager: Ensures that all necessary processes are followed, including in-flight operations, maintenance and crew training; and
  • Industrial engineer: This field involves all things IT systems and new technologies within aviation.

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