Mariam Al-Mansouri



Thenature of some jobs and cultural beliefs held by some communities hasresulted in a misleading notion that certain careers are meant forindividuals of specific gender. Pilot fighting and air force careersin general are some of the careers that the United Arab’s communityhad reserved for women while prohibiting women from pursuing them formany years (Dar, 2014). However, the decision of to pursue a career in pilot fighting shocked many and changed thefalse notion that the community has promoted in its entire history.This paper will discuss about the life of with afocus on her biography, challenge of gender stereotyping, short-termand long-term solutions that helped her successes in her career. is an Arab female leader, whose love for UAE andthe decision to join a male-dominate dominated career helped herdemonstrate women’s capacity to lead and include women’sperspective in the peace building missions.

MariamAl-Mansouri, like any other Arab women, grew up in a community and afamily that had some beliefs in gender roles. She was one of theeight children born of a UAE engineer and a politician named Sultanbin Saeed. Al-Mansouri was born in 1979 in the capital of Abu Dhabi(The Nation, 2015). The fact that women had been prohibited fromcertain careers (such as pilot fighting) until 2007 suggests thatAl-Mansouri had no mentor to look up to (Dar, 2014). However, herfamily members, including his father who was a scholar and apolitician, were a great source of motivation in her career andpersonal life. She graduated from high school with 93 points.

Duringher later, Al-Mansouri was motivated by her love for UAE to makecritical decisions regarding her career. After high school,Al-Mansouri pursued a Bachelor’s degree in English at theUniversity of the United Arab Emirates. However, the English languagewas not her best career of choice. The law and destructive narrativesand pilot fighting could only be done by men had denied her theopportunity to do what she admired the most. In 2007, the UAE liftedthe restriction banning women from joining the air force in thecapacity of fighting pilots. Al-Mansouri took advantage of the newUAE’s decision and joined bin-Zayed Air College in the same year,2007 (The Nation, 2015). After graduating, Al-Mansouri served as anarmy general and leads the team that performed air strikes againstjihadists in Syria. Her roles demanded the use of a participativeleadership style and a team player skill. The “Mohammed bin RashidPride of the Emirates medal” is among the key awards thatAl-Mansouri have received so far due to her excellence in the fieldof pilot fighting (The Nation, 2015).

Genderstereotyping becomes a common occurrence when one ignores culturalbeliefs and decides to pursue a career that is assumed to belong topersons of the opposite gender. This is the major challenge thatAl-Mansouri has faced since 2007, when she chose a career in pilotfighting. Gender stereotyping resulted from the facts that women inthe UAE were not allowed to serve as pilot fighters and the communityheld a belief that such careers belonged to men (The Nation, 2015).Being a woman in the air force was a problem to the society and theservice men, but her family members gave her support in her newcareer (Dar, 2014). Her success in conducting air-strikes in Syriaindicates that Al-Mansouri has overcome the career of genderstereotyping.

Thereare three major strategies that demonstrate Al-Mansouri’sshort-term goals and solutions. First, cooperating with herinstructor was an effective strategy that helped her win the trust ofmen who used to train men in their lives (Dar, 2014). Secondly,Al-Mansouri’s passion for challenge gave the courage to take a jobthat was believed to belong to men. Third, Al-Mansouri chose tocompete with herself, instead of competing with men who dominated theprofession. A combination of the three strategies helped her achievethe short-term goal of excelling in her training program.

Thereare three major strategies that demonstrate Al-Mansouri’s long-termgoals and solutions. First, the strategy of electing a career that nowoman in UAE had selected before helped Al-Mansouri demonstrates thatwomen could play a critical role of maintaining peace in the society.Secondly, the decision to go for a male-dominated career helpedAl-Mansouri address the destructive narrative that prevailed in theUAE’s community, which had undermined the role of women (Ford,2014). Third, focusing on the war torn areas helped Al-Mansouri senda message to her community and the world that women could establish afunctional society by fighting the enemies of humanity in the world.In essence, the three strategies are part of Al-Mansouri’slong-term goal of introducing women’s perspectives in the peacebuilding missions.

Inconclusion to pursue a male dominate career as a pilot fighter gaveAl-Mansouri an opportunity to integrate women’s perspective in thepeacekeeping missions and disapprove the destructive narratives thatundermines women’s capacity to lead. Al-Mansouri lived in acommunity that valued gender roles, which denied women theopportunity to pursue pilot fighting careers. However, the removal oflegal restrictions in 2007 allowed Al-Mansouri to pursue a career inpilot fighting, which she admired since she was in high school.However, she had to overcome gender stereotyping in order to succeedin her new career. Some of the strategies that helped her achieve hershort-term goals include cooperation, developing a passion forchallenge, and competing with her. Al-Mansouri’s decision to join amale-dominated career helped her send a message that women could playa role in establishing a functional society.


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Ford,D. (2014, October 9). UAE’s first female fighter pilot ledairstrike against ISIS. CNN.Retrieved March 7, 2016, from

TheNation (2015, October 15). UAE fighter pilot awarded at UN. TheNation.Retrieved March 7, 2017, from