July 11th, 2015
Up in the air, Indian women are increasingly in charge. For a country that can’t ensure a woman’s safety or her basic rights on the ground, the recruitment record of India’s airlines presents a contrast. So, the next time you take a flight in India, the chances of the pilot being a woman are much higher than anywhere else in the world.
India currently has 5,100 pilots, of which 600, or 11.7%, are women, according to ministry of civil aviation data. There are a total 130,000 pilots in the world, of which 4,000, or about 3%, are women, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.
“This is definitely one trend which flies in the face of the global opinion of India as a regressive place for women,” said Harpreet Singh Dey, president of the Indian Women Pilots’ Association. She’s also the first female pilot to operate an international flight by a local carrier, Air India, in 1988.
Dey recalls that conditions during her training period weren’t always optimal. “I was in Hisar, Haryana, and there were no women’s hostels,” she said. The times have changed dramatically since then, Dey said. Airlines now have special contract clauses designed especially for women pilots.
“We have flexible contracts providing a variety of options such as 40 hours of flying per month or two weeks off for two weeks of flying. We also have a creche at the training centre for new mothers,” said Bavicca Bharathi, a pilot and line training captain with IndiGo. Bharathi holds records for being India’s youngest pilot licence holder at 18 in 2007 and also its youngest commander three years later.
She said however that long breaks are a problem as certifications tend to lapse.
Read more at Times Of India
Image Courtesy: TOI