Felicia Edem Attipoe defied all odds to become Ghana’s first female aircraft marshaller. She failed twice while training to become a marshaller, but she never gave up.
All I needed was just 50 percent. I never gave up.
Felicia says that aircraft marshaling stopped being purely a man’s job after she joined the profession since more women joined her.
So far as I was concerned, aircraft marshalling was purely a man’s job. It was solely done by men, till I joined the section. Now we have 15 ladies here. And for me, there are no gender hindrances.
Edem, however, never dreamed of becoming an aircraft marshaller as a kid. She says her dream was to become a musician and a secretary.
Growing up, I wanted to be a musician, and at a point, I learned and played keyboard at church. The keyboard playing enhanced my typing ability and I knew I will eventually become a secretary.
She eventually got the opportunity to do her attachment at the national theatre as a producer of the famous Keysoap Concert Party.
My attachment at the Ghana National Theatre moved me into art and I am proud to be part of the beginners of concert party in Ghana where I was a producer.
Felicia Edem, later on, worked as a secretary at the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority. This marked the beginning of her journey to become a female aircraft marshaller. Felicia finally joined the Ghana Airports Company Limited.
She after on took a four-year leave to study, leaving her husband behind only to come back home to a broken marriage. Felicia then decided to start selling porridge and fruit salad at the airport to survive.
She eventually got back her job in 2011, as a secretary in the Ramp section where she did not have much to do.
When I got there I realized there was little a secretary could do in that section. I was dormant and always sleeping. I felt I was underutilized.
She would watch the men marshaling aircraft to bay until she developed an interest in doing it herself. Edem then told a reluctant Director of Airport Operations about her interest in marshaling. She was finally got the chance to apply and train.
Felicia explained that being in the field was not easy for her at first.
I failed the exams the first time, rewrote and passed it at the second attempt. My first time on the field was tough. When I saw the aircraft coming, I wanted to drop the bats and run away, but the men were so helpful. They encouraged me and gave me much support.
Edem now enjoys doing what she does. She expressed her delight in marshaling the presidential flight 001, which had the then Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama on board.
Felicia has also received recognition from the Kwame Nkrumah Hall JCRC of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), the Women of Excellence, and the 2019 AviaTour Conference.