India’s very own flying officer Avani Chaturvedi has become the first woman fighter pilot to fly solo. She has undoubtedly created history. Chaturvedi has flown a MiG-21 bison during her first training sortie in Jamnagar, Gujarat. Avani is one of the 3 from the first batch of female pilots who were inducted into the Indian Air Force fighter squadron on June 18, 2016. The other two women fighter pilots inducted along with her are Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh.
“It’s a unique achievement for the Indian Air Force and this country,” said Air Commodore Prashant Dixit to the media.
Only selected countries, for example the United Kingdom, the United States, Pakistan, and Israel have allowed women to fit in the role of fighter pilots. In October 2015, the Indian Government took the decision to open the fighter category for women. However, combat roles in the Army as well as the Navy are still not open for women due to perceived bias and a lethal combination of logistical constraints and operational concerns. Two women from the second batch entered the fighter stream of Indian Air Force and were commissioned on December 16, 2017 after they graduated from the Air Force Academy in Dundigul. It’s only in the year 1992 that armed forces began recruiting women in their streams, apart from the medical stream.
Avani Chaturvedi blazes the trail for women professionals
Avani, aged 24, comes from Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa district. Completing her schooling from Deoland, which is a small town in Madhya Pradesh, she went on to do her bachelors in technology from the Banasthali University in Rajasthan. During this time, she also joined the Flying Club and succeeded in passing the Indian Air Force exam.
These are the stories that remind us that one should never give up on their dreams. If there is a will there is a way to achieve aspirations. For any developed society women have to come forward and participate equally in the labor force. No matter how tough the road is, women can aspire and overcome the odds. As they say nothing is impossible. The story of Avani Chaturvedi is no different.
Avani Chaturvedi: Beacon for women empowerment
She always wanted to become a pilot. Glory doesn’t come easy. These are the role models of women empowerment. Avani made her way through a patriarchal as well as a male-dominated society. What she has achieved is blaze the trail for future women professionals. She is now in the Ivy league of women aviators such as Raymonde de Laroche: the world’s first woman to get a pilot’s license; Ellen Church: the first female flight attendant in the world; Kate McCue: the first woman globally to command a cruise ship.
Greetings and wishes have been pouring in from all around the country on her remarkable feat egging her to go further afield and make a mark for herself and her country. Last year Kashmir’s Ayesha Aziz became India’s youngest Indian woman pilot. Similarly, Anny Divya from Andhra Pradesh became the world’s youngest woman to command a Boeing 777 aircraft. Breaking stereotypes as well as societal norms, Anny created history with Air India, the government air carrier which also created a record after it flew across the world, led by an all-women crew on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.