Indian skies celebrate female pilots

Even though women may have a long way to go on Indian land, the Indian Skies are full of high-flying female pilots, according to to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. The Indian airlines industry has almost 9 percent more women pilots compared to the world average.


3 percent of  the worldwide skies may be commanded by female pilots, but here in  India, 11.7 percent of the pilots are women. Out of India’s 5100 pilots, 600 pilots are women. Worldwide, 1,30,000 pilots are flying, and only 4000, or 3 percent of those are women. 


In fact, just over the last year, the number of licenses given out to women pilots saw a surge. 1100 pilots were officiated, out of which, 170 were women – which is 5  percent more than the previous year.


Airlines have in fact, taken it upon themselves to break the gender bias and inculcate inclusive practices. SpiceJet has 15 percent female pilots employed with them now, and close on its heels were Jet Airways with 14 percent and Indigo, with 11 percent of their force taken up by women.


“Flying schools are churning out a higher number of women pilots every year. There are many families who are supportive of a woman’s career choice as a pilot even after marriage. There are also many women who would happily remain single to follow their passion,” says Harpreet Singh Dey – the first female pilot to fly internationally from India – to Economic Times.


And these figures only get more robust, when you take all the job opportunities in the the aviation industry into consideration. At IndiGo, 44 percent roles as ground crew, cabin crew and management are held by women. Vistara, the newest entrant, has “piloted” itself with a 50:50 ratio in its overall staff.


“It is a gradual growth. I think it mirrors the increasing numbers of women in the professional workforce as old ways of thinking change,” says SpiceJet chief operating officer Sanjiv Kapoor
to Economic Times. He also agrees that parents have become more supportive – owing to the fact that employers are more gender neutral.


Most importantly, their policies and practices  have also been proverbially “pinked” – and are amended to be sensitive to the special needs of women employees.  From a time when female students had to share their rooms with male colleagues due to a lack of women’s hostels, we have finally arrived at a time when women get to take one day off every weekend to spend time with their children. Creche services have also been made available for new mothers, at training centres. 


“We foresee more women aspirants joining us going forward and welcome them,” predicts Vistara Head of HR S Vardarajan, to Economic Times.


Image credits: TOI

Source: Economic Times