A Japanese female pilot defied gender norms after reaching her ambition set high above the clouds.
First Lieutenant Misa Matsushima, 26, finished training to fly F-15s and was recently named the first female fighter pilot in a ceremony on Friday. The appointment is considered to be groundbreaking for the traditionally male-dominated work force of Japan.
Matshushima hopes to prove to other women that when it comes to having unattainable ambitions, the sky's the limit.
『航空自衛隊初の女性戦闘機操縦者が誕生』 ２等空尉 松島美紗は、８月２４日付で航空自衛隊初の女性戦闘機操縦者となります。航空自衛隊は、操縦職域を含むすべての職域を女性に開放しています。 #航空自衛隊 #空自 #JASDF… https://t.co/hltTcNT99F— 防衛省 航空自衛隊 (@防衛省 航空自衛隊) 1535016547.0
"As the first female (fighter) pilot, I will open the way," she told reporters.
"I would like work hard to meet people's expectations and show my gratitude to people who have been supporting me. I want to become a full-fledged pilot, no different from men, as soon as possible."
Misa Matsushima Becomes the First Japan’s Female fighter Pilot https://t.co/eWWkwCB7JA https://t.co/FCN7S3H33r— Kingsley Loaded Blog (@Kingsley Loaded Blog) 1535146569.0
Better late than never, Japan. Congratulations, First Lieutenant Misa Matsushima! https://t.co/FbyE40wRJ9 #womenfly #F15— Fraser (@Fraser) 1535144644.0
Although JASDF allowed female applicants by 1993, women were banned from flying fighter jets and reconnaissance aircraft until 2015 when the Japanese government aimed to close the gender gap.
@womenofjapan Congratulations. Should not have taken Japanese government this long to put a woman in F-15, to do ot… https://t.co/KDaH4naeoz— John Cole (@John Cole) 1535151787.0
Due to an imbalance in the aging population and steady decline in the Japanese workforce, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aimed for empowering women in the workplace with a steady stream of initiatives in 2013.
"Japan has high levels of gender inequality, with many women expected to become housewives rather than having a car… https://t.co/1q04l0iIdf— LophiusPat (@LophiusPat) 1535115867.0
He urged for companies to have at least one female executive and offered tax incentives for companies that welcomed back mothers previously gone for maternity leave.
This policy of "womenomics" has made its way into the Defense Ministry, which allowed for women like Matsushima to become a part of the Self Defense Force.
Tom Cruise may have had a hand in inspiring Matsushima to become a fighter pilot.
"Ever since I saw the movie Top Gun when I was in primary school, I have always admired fighter jet pilots."
"I wish to continue to work hard to fulfil my duty - not just for myself but also for women who will follow this path in the future."
The accolades poured in from around the world.
Congratulations to Lt. Misa Matsushima, who now is Japan's first female fighter. This shows that #women continue to… https://t.co/ojiPYTVnth— Carolina Ortiz E. (@Carolina Ortiz E.) 1535143209.0
@JASDF_PAO おめでとうございます！めっちゃかっこいい💕自衛隊の大ファンです、これからの御活躍も期待させていただきます💙— おにいさん@掟破り済み🍍 (@おにいさん@掟破り済み🍍) 1535019515.0
Misa Matsushima primera mujer piloto de combate de la Fuerza Aérea del Japón a los controles de su F-15 f.EPA https://t.co/ol7KKTPpN9— teiifttomas (@teiifttomas) 1535145012.0
@japantimes Congratulations to Lt. Misa Matsushima!— yewwah(cool) Singapore (@yewwah(cool) Singapore) 1535135095.0
Matsushima is one of 13,707 servicewomen comprising 6.1% of all Japanese troops. With the "womenomics" policy to increase working women, the Defense Ministry is drafting up further initiatives in the hopes of increasing the number of women in the Self Defense Forces to 9% by 2030, according to CNN.
@womenofjapan She is gonna rule the sky— DawnWalkerWolf (@DawnWalkerWolf) 1535171888.0
@womenofjapan How awesome!!! I can't help but fall for spirits like this!— Le Bouillon (@Le Bouillon) 1535165504.0
@womenofjapan Your doing great girl! https://t.co/aQYpfAVKSX— Zoiros 💚💙 (@Zoiros 💚💙) 1535151430.0
The Yokohama native will be stationed in Nyutabaru Air Base and will begin piloting F-15J fighter jets, which are supersonic, all-weather twin-engine fighters with features such as radar warning.