An all-female pilot crew touched down in Saudi Arabia becoming Royal Brunei Airlines’ first all-female flight crew ever to do so. The three women, Captain Sharifah Czarena and senior first officers Sariana Nordin and Dk Nadiah Pg, made history considering Saudi Arabia’s position on women’s rights—a country where women do not even have the right to drive a car.
Although Royal Brunei Airlines is not the first to establish full-female crews, they are making some waves within the international community’s conversation of women’s rights. Brunei is a small state that, as recently as 1984, was a British protectorate. Since their independence, the leadership has implemented new penal codes that are based on Sharia law. The sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, carried out the first phase in 2014, which according to a newsource “included imprisonment as punishment for lesbianism, cross-dressing, abortion, theft and alcohol consumption.” There is a second phase, “whipping and amputation for crimes” as well as a third, “stoning to death in cases of rape, adultery, pre-marital sex and sodomy,” however the first phase has been the only one enforced to date.
As countries continue to carry out disciplinary practices such as those of Brunei it becomes more important than ever to take note of the progressive actions certain institutions, like Royal Brunei Airlines, are accomplishing.