The presence of women in the labor market is increasing, including in those culturally considered areas of male domain, squandering competence and professional qualification. These are years of achievements and advances, which today make them respected and valued, far beyond the care of home and family.
In the aviation segment, a historically masculine sector, the advance happens little by little and is encouraged by companies such as Helisul Aviação. The company’s women stand out in different sectors and make all the difference to the company’s performance in all bases in which it is present in the country.
The base manager Edineia Clemente is one of these female strengths. The woman from Pará, mother of a 17-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl, leads a team of eight men at the Belém – Júlio Cezar Ribeiro International Airport, in the capital of Pará. She is responsible for organizing the entry and exit of maintenance services, whether third-party aircraft or Helisul’s own fleet, in addition to managing the team of mechanics, inspectors and assistants.
The professional will complete seven years at Helisul in 2022 and, coming from the business administration area, learned the day-to-day maintenance trade. “I am the only base manager who is not a mechanic. I’m a business administrator. I didn’t know anything about maintenance. I arrived to manage the administrative part of the hangar and then I took care of a tool here, that there, and I was encompassing and learning everything”, says Edineia.
The professional has been working in the commercial administrative area in the aviation segment for 12 years and, in all, has more than 20 years of career. She celebrates the fact that she is respected as a manager and team leader at Helisul, despite knowing that receptivity is not the same everywhere.
“I didn’t find any difficulties here, I was always very well accepted, even though I didn’t know the technical part in depth. Maybe it’s not for everyone. Our customers are men, but I have not encountered any difficulties. I think it depends more on what I show than wanting to impose myself. Everyone here accepts me as a professional, so I didn’t face barriers because of that.”
Challenges along the way
Edineia’s companions cannot say the same about the challenges of getting to where they are. The aircraft mechanic Valeria Araújo de Almeida </ b> has been working in the aviation field for over ten years, but she has understood the activity for longer. From a family of five car mechanic brothers, she had an external incentive to fulfill her desire to work in the profession and ended up finding her way in the airline segment.
Today she is a specialist in the Bell line and the only woman on Helisul’s helicopter maintenance team. “I always wanted to work in a workshop, but due to prejudice from my brothers themselves, I never got to work with mechanics and I took care of the management part of the workshop”, says Valéria. With the help of a client, she won a scholarship to an aviation school and secured a diploma. The aircraft mechanic at Helisul is from Bahia, married and has a three-year-old daughter.
The family left São Paulo about three months ago to live in the capital of Paraná, where Valéria’s work base is and Helisul’s headquarters. “You get home and you still have that double journey. Playing with the daughter, taking care of the house, so it’s quite challenging. It is more manual, heavy work. In addition to working the physical part, it also works the mental part. It’s exhausting, but I love what I do. Every day is a different day.”
Valeria started out as a helper before becoming a mechanic and, to get where she is today, she had to be firm and overcome obstacles as a woman in her career. According to her, many people turned a blind eye to competence and tried to make her give up.
“Literally, they thought that women shouldn’t be in maintenance, that they should be behind a stove, taking care of their husbands, taking care of the house, and not doing mechanical work. All this prejudice, this resistance I had at the beginning, only gave me strength to become a mechanic with quality, with more dedication”, she reveals.
Gaucho Patricia Massotti, a pilot at Helisul for almost three years, notices similarities with her colleague’s report. Based in Curitiba, it operates in the Specialized Air Service (SAE), in firefighting and external cargo missions, but makes stopovers in the aeromedical service and scenic flights when called upon to do so. Previously, she served as a flight instructor at the aviation school where she graduated and as an air taxi pilot, performing scenic and charter flights.
Fascinated by the versatility of helicopters, Patricia pursued her dream, but had to face moments of discomfort. “I’ve been through situations where some passengers and even colleagues, at first, looked strangely, somehow doubting that I could be a pilot. But after the person realized that the flight was done normally, as any other professional would do, they started to see me in a normal way, without gender differentiation”, says the professional.
For her, currently the restrictions and barriers faced by women who work as pilots are much lower, compared to the pioneers of the profession. “There are still many with a backward mindset, but it is much more common to see people finding it cool that the pilot is a woman, congratulating or showing more admiration than judgment”, she celebrates.
The pilot believes that, more and more, companies like Helisul have given equal opportunities for professionals to demonstrate their abilities and knowledge to assume positions by merit, without distinction of gender. “We deserve the same job opportunity as any professional.”
A ‘stranger’ in the nest
With the intention of innovating and maintaining the concept of pioneering spirit that it carries, Helisul relied on the strength of women’s work when it came to inaugurating the aeronautical pharmaceutical position, taken over by Renata Huszcz from Curitiba. She took on the challenge of taking on the role in the company’s air medical transport sector nearly two years ago, to help make a difference and further elevate the operator’s excellence.
In Brazil, there is only one more man and one woman in the same position in the aviation segment. Renata took over from scratch and her main attribution is inventory management, to help reduce costs, avoid discards, optimize the use of medicines, standardize operations, among others.
A very dynamic routine, most of the time, and full of challenges. “I had to find my own way. Because, if I’m in a hospital environment, I already know what I’m going to face”, says Renata. “As it is not a company in the health area, I had to gradually open doors and show how important the figure of the pharmacist is, regardless of whether I am that person today. I had to learn a lot of things”, says the aeromedical pharmacist, who previously worked in a hospital and an Emergency Care Unit (UPA).
Renata also has a degree in Nursing and worked in the profession for 12 years as a civil servant. But the great love has always been Pharmacy. And today is a dream come true. “It has always been my dream to be a pharmacist, since I was ten years old,” she says. And being in a company like Helisul, in a way, was already part of the plans.
“I always thought about looking for alternatives, I said I wanted something out of the ordinary. I didn’t want to sell drugs, I wanted to care, provide assistance. In a short time, I am very happy with the experience I have. The patient doesn’t see me, but all the material he needs is there. I provide the opportunity for the operation to be carried out successfully. The pharmaceutical service is the heart of any establishment and without heart, no one survives”, highlights the pharmacist.
According to her, being at Helisul and contributing to aeromedical care has been professionally and personally very meaningful. “I get super emotional, because, for me, it’s something very surreal. Passing through places, making a difference in some way, to aggregate and add to people’s lives. This is important and the woman has a lot of this. We want the world, to make things happen and show that we can, gaining space.”