Gender Equality Current Affairs

Avani Chaturvedi: First woman fighter pilot to fly fighter jet

Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi (24) created history by becoming first Indian woman pilot of Indian Air Force (IAF) to complete a solo flight in a MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft.

She had achieved this feat by completing half-an-hour long solo flight in Russian-origin jet in the skies over Jamnagar Air Base, Gujarat. The first solo flight is just initial step in exhaustive operational syllabus that transforms rookie pilots into full-fledged fighter pilots capable of handling high-voltage combat flying.

Avani Chaturvedi

She is from Rewa district, Madhya Pradesh and was born on 27 October 1993. She is posted to No. 23 Squadron (Panthers) based in Suratgarh in Rajasthan. She is from first batch of three women officers who were commissioned as fighter pilots in IAF. She has completed her training at Hyderabad Air Force Academy.

Prior to solo flight, she had undertaken flights in twin-seater training jets, accompanied by Qualified Flying Instructors of IAF. After completing her basic flying training on Pilatus aircraft at Air Force Academy, she had undertaken six months of training on Kiran trainer jets at Hakimpet, followed by year-long training stint on Hawk advanced trainer jets at Bidar Air Base.

Significance

This is a major milestone in training of a fighter pilot and first time Indian woman has flown a fighter aircraft solo. It demonstrates IAF’s enduring commitment to ‘Nari Shakti’. Three women officers Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawna Kanth and Mohana Sing were selected to be fighter pilots in June 2016 when IAF had agreed to induct women as fighter pilots on “an experimental basis” for an initial period of five years. Before 2016, women made up just 2.5% of India’s armed forces, working in mainly non-combat roles. Pakistan has about 20 female fighter pilots since Pakistan Air Force (PAF) began inducting women into combat roles in 2006.

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Jaipur’s Gandhinagar railway station becomes 1st fully women operated non-suburban station

The Gandhi Nagar railway station in Jaipur, Rajasthan became the country’s first major non-suburban railway station to be fully-managed by women. It is the second in the country to be managed solely by women – the first being Matunga in Mumbai. It is step towards empowering women and set example for women across the country that they can independently handle a major railway station.

Key Facts

Gandhi Nagar is important railway station in Jaipur situated on Jaipur-Delhi rail route. More than 50 trains pass through the station daily out of which 25 halting at station. The station has footfall of more than 7,000 passengers every day. There are 40 women staff deployed at station besides women personnel of railway protection force (RPF) at station. These women employees have been trained to manage all operations at the station. At this station, 10 women each have been posted in transport and commercial sections, while 4 have been posted for ticket checking, along with total of RPF personnel.

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