- Azura Rahman
The Sky is the Limit
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Meet Japan's First Female Fighter Pilot, Misa Matsushima!
First Lieutenant Misa Matsushima has made history by becoming the first female pilot at the age of 26. She made headlines in Japan by breaking into an industry which has been dominated by men for decades. Graduating from Japan’s National Defense Academy, Misa holds the rank of first lieutenant.
She is one of 13,700 servicewomen who make up about 6% of all Japanese troops.
“As the first female (fighter) pilot, I will open the way.”
"I want to continue to work hard to carry out my duties, not just for myself but for women who want to follow this path in the future.”
There are currently three other women training to join Japan’s elite group of fighter pilots. These new changes have been inspiring for young women as the country has been known to have high levels of gender inequality. Many women are expected to take on traditional roles as housewives in the past but things are rapidly changing.
Mr Shinzo Abe, who served as Prime Minister from 2012 to 2020, has pledged to empower and encouraged women to join the workforce. The country has an aging population and a shrinking workforce meaning advancements in career choices are limitless for women.
"I hope to be the one to inspire people to become a pilot," says Misha. The F-15J fighter jets which she navigates can reach top speeds of about Mach 2.5 – 2.5 times the speed of sound or about 3000 km (1,864 miles/h).
The 1st Lieutenant was inspired by the movie 'Top Gun in primary school.'
Women like Misha Matsushima are extraordinary and we hope her courage opens the way for more women to achieve their dreams.
Images courtesy of Getty Images and Japan Air Defense Force