You might have heard the name ‘Amelia Mary Earhart’ a thousand times before, and everything about her empowering story on being the first woman to fly an airplane in history. But, what you haven’t heard of before, is that a few years later, in 1933, an Egyptian woman called Lotfia ElNadi got her flying license too and became the first Egyptian woman, and one of the few in the world to fly an airplane.

Lotfia ElNadi was born in 1907, a time where women all around the world, were sent to schools, and getting well educated only to get married, and raise children. Instead, Lotfia defied norms, and with the help of the director of Egyptair, she took flying lessons alongside other 33 male classmates.

first egyptian woman to fly an airplane - female pilots 

Lotfia ElNadi did all this behind her father’s back, so, she had to work as a secretary and telephone operator in the flying school in exchange for tuition.

Her father accepted her eventually and even asked her to take him on a flying tour over the pyramids. Although she didn’t win, Lotfia was congratulated by King Fuad himself, when she participated in a race between Cairo and Alexandria.

I was greatly inspired by her and thought that it’s the perfect story to tell on International Women's Day. Lotfia ElNadi is a great Egyptian woman that every young girl must know about because she represents strength, power, and determination. She was sure of herself, and of her capabilities, and she didn’t let norms control her life.