From making national headlines as the first female pilot in 2006 and now as the first female captain, Ugyen Dema continues to break gender barrier in Bhutan’s aviation field.
The national airlines Drukair promoted 33-year-old Ugyen Dema to the post of Captain yesterday. While it’s a proud moment for Captain Ugyen Dema, she described the post as a natural progression in her career ladder.
She started as a trainee pilot, paving the way for other aspiring female pilots to follow suit. She gradually went on to become First Officer before being appointed as captain.
“My goal was never to become the first female captain or the first female pilot. It’s a natural career progression for me,” she said.
Captain Ugyen Dema said the Bhutanese women are lucky to be born in Bhutan where the women are given equal opportunities as the men.
She added it’s important for every individual to set personal goals and work toward achieving them.
For Drukair, though, the appointment of the first lady captain, as the airline puts it, is a significant milestone in Bhutan’s aviation history.
The CEO of Drukair, Tandi Wangchuk, said it is also a manifestation of women capability and empowerment.
“Now with Ugyen Dema having proved she is equally good as male captains, I am sure more women would follow suit,” he said.
Drukair has also appointed the airlines’ other woman pilot Sonam Lhamo to the post of Senior First Officer along with a male pilot, Tenzin Namgay, yesterday.
“We have only two women pilots as of now, but I believe there are more women in training institutes who would be passing out soon and we hope to see them enter the aviation field,” CEO Tandin Wangchuk said.
Drukair now has seven Bhutanese captain including Ugyen Dema. Of the 35 flight crew members, which include19 captains and 16 first officers, only two- Ugyen Dema and Sonam Lhamo- are female.