Women Rule the Skies As India Boasts of Highest Female Pilots 

Piloting a commercial plane is one of the rare jobs that has no gender pay gap.

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Editors: Veeru Krishan Mohan and Ashish MacCune
Producer: Rohit Khanna

Finally, some good news! Despite rampant patriarchy and misogyny in India, the country ranks on top of the charts when it comes to women empowerment! At 12 percent, India has the highest proportion of female commercial pilots in the world, almost twice as high as most Western countries like the United States and Australia. In fact, the global average for this statistic is less than 5 percent, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.

“It is one of the few professions where there is no discrimination. You are judged on the basis of your skill and not on the basis of your gender.”
First Officer Ashrrita Chinchankar, Air India 

Speaking to Reuters, IndiGo said that about 13 percent of all pilots they hire are women. Five years ago, that same statistic stood at 10 percent. At SpiceJet, 12 percent of all pilots are women. Their aim is to increase that to 33 percent over the next three years.

Because India is the fastest growing aviation market, with domestic capacity growing at 22 percent in the first half of the year, there is increased pressure on airlines to hire more and fast. Recruiting women has become the most obvious way of filling in the growing demand for pilots.

As the pay is based on seniority and flying hours for pilots, it is one of the rare professions that boasts of no gender pay gap.

To encourage and support empowerment of women in aviation, airlines have opened day cares, established managerial roles for pregnant women and women in their post-natal phase, and arranged for chauffeured cars to ensure their safety to and from airports, among other incentives.

IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India are the top three airlines in the world with the highest percentages of female pilots.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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