In 1933, at the age of 26, Lotfia El Nadi (1907 – 2002) became the first Egyptian female to earn a pilot licence in Egypt.
In order to achieve her dream – in a time when Egyptian women were fighting to obtain equal rights – Lotfia informed her father that she was attending a study group, when in fact she was attending flying lessons twice a week. When her mother discovered her secret desire to learn to fly, she decided to help her daughter achieve that goal. It is said that her first time in a plane was when she worked as a receptionist at Cairo airport and one day hided in a 2-seater plane, just to experience what it was like to fly.
She has been decorated with medals from a number of Presidents and notaries around the world. Her respect, determination, and ambition gained her the status as a Women’s Equal Rights Advocate in the Middle East and an inspiration to the rest of women around the world. When asked why she wanted to fly, she replied “I learned to fly because I love to be free.”
Lotfia never married, and lived in Lausanne, Switzerland most of her life.