Women of Aviation - Meet Mariam Karim

Interview    /    March 10, 2022

Mariam Karim, one of our amazing female customers and Safety and Quality Assurance Specialist at South African Airways, gives us an insight into her career and achievements.

  • Hi Mariam, great to talk to you. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
    What´s your current profession?
    I joined South African Airways in 1998 as a secretary. Four years later, I joined the Safety department.  I have filled many roles in Safety and am currently a safety data analyst. I am also the system administrator for iQSMS (they call me “iQSMS Lady”) and also assist with various tasks to ensure our regulatory and Safety Management Systems compliance.

  • What are the cornerstones of your career?
    A great support system – at home and at work. I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing people who always assist me, guide me, teach me, encourage me and pick me up when I fall. I am part of a team that allows me to grow and to have a voice.

  • Something you are immensely proud of?
    I joined the Safety department as a secretary, without having any idea what safety was all about! I figured my role would be mainly administrative, but little did I realize that I’d be bitten by the aviation bug! The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I was very lucky that I was given many opportunities to grow and learn beyond my scope. I took advantage of every opportunity and made the most of it. I am surrounded by passionate, knowledgeable people who I am able to learn from. I am so proud of the path that I have taken to get to where I am now. It has been a long, tough road with many challenges along the way. The journey is definitely not over and I look forward to what is still to come!

Mariam Karim
Safety Data Analyst/South African Airways

”As they say: If you can dream it, you can do it!. Never stop learning, never let your thirst for knowledge die.

Mariam Karim, Safety Data Analyst at South African Airways

  • Your initial spark to enter the aviation industry?
    As a young girl, the aviation industry never featured in my future plans as I was not aware of the many opportunities in aviation. It was only when I joined the safety department that I became interested in the different aspects of aviation and flight operations.
  • What do you love the most about your job?
    I love the collaboration that we have as a Safety team. We are a small safety team at South African Airways and we work well together and support a common goal. I love the diverse challenges we face and being able to brainstorm together to find solutions. I love that I have a voice within such a crucial aspect of SAA’s operations.

Women in Aviation

  • Generally speaking: What should we be telling younger generations of women?
    There is no limit to dreams. As they say “If you can dream it, you can do it!”. Never stop learning, never let your thirst for knowledge die. Do not allow anyone to dictate who and what you should be.
  • How has the aviation industry changed for woman during your career?
    Many years ago, I was the only woman in a room full of men, taking the minutes of a meeting as a secretary. Today the picture is very different! Now we have women in many senior and leadership positions. At SAA, women are celebrated. We are encouraged and our voices are heard so that we can stand with our heads held high.
  • In your opinion, why should we encourage the next generations of women to work in the industry and what can be done to do so?
    The next generation must take advantage of the strides made by our generation. They must build on what is already there and take it further. When people hear the word “aviation”, they usually think of pilots or flight attendants. We need to show them that there are many other facets of the industry that can be of interest to them.