Once a year, Iran Air, the country’s national airline, announces job openings.
This year, for the first time, the airline will consider women applicants for pilot positions, according to the Tehran Times.
“This is highly significant for us to have female pilots among our personnel,” said Farzaneh Sharafbafi, Iran Air’s first female chief executive. The first women hired for the position will begin as co-pilots.
“Women can play a key role in the social development as well as the realization of social justice in a society,” Sharafbafi said, according to the Times. “Today, the world is paying more serious attention to the role of women in the society.”
Women have been permitted to fly planes for years in Iran, but they have never been allowed to work for the country’s airline. They are still required to wear a headscarf on airplanes, as they are in public.
The airline, known as Homa, has five women working in top management, and about 16 percent of the company’s middle managers are women, according to the Times.
Sharafbafi assumed her position last summer when she was 44. She is also the first woman in Iran to get a PhD in aerospace engineering.
In 2014, Sharafbafi told Iran Front Page newspaper that when she was in college, she didn’t know that women could even study aerospace engineering.