Aircraft doesn't know if man or woman officer is flying it: IAF’s Shaliza Dhami
Indian Air Force (IAF) wing commander Shaliza Dhami said on Sunday if women were incapable of serving in the armed forces, they would not have made so much progress. “I have put in more than 17 years of service and there are so many others like me,” she told news agency ANI.
A day before International Women’s Day on Monday, Dhami ruled out gender bias and expressed confidence in one's skills. “It will be almost three decades for women officers in IAF. Aircraft doesn't know whether it's a male or female officer who is flying it. It is the journey to sit in the aircraft that says everything -- whether we will be able to do it or not,” she said.
Her statement comes months after the controversy over actor Janhvi Kapoor starrer ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl.’ Delhi High Court had in October last year refused to pass any interim order to restrain the streaming of the film based on allegations by the Centre that the Netflix film depicts the IAF in poor light and dents its image.
In recent years, many women have been seen performing leading roles in the defence sector. In January, flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became the first woman fighter pilot to take part in the Republic Day parade. She was part of the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) tableau that displayed mock-ups of the light combat aircraft, light combat helicopter and the Sukhoi-30 fighter plane.
Kanth had joined the fighter squadron in November 2017 and flew the first solo on MiG-21 Bison in March 2018. At present, she is posted at an airbase in Rajasthan where she flies the MiG-21 Bison fighter plane.
During the Budget Session in Parliament last month, the government informed that the headcount of women in the military has increased almost three-fold over the last six years. There are 9,118 women currently serving the army, navy and air force, with the services giving them more opportunities to boost career progression, the government said.