It was right on International Women’s Day that we Indians took one major step ahead in respecting women and giving them equal rights where for the first time, the names of the 3 Indian Air Force pilots were announced. Bhawna Kanth, Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi are the three women chosen to be the air force pilots. They commence in June and are currently cadets, in training. The three but naturally can’t wait to begin. All three women come from completely different backgrounds and even pursued other careers before signing up for the Air Force. The women will officially join the IAF and become pilots on June 18th. “As of now three women trainees have volunteered to join the fighter stream. They are under the second phase of their training. Once they complete their training and are at par with their male colleagues and the passing out parade is scheduled on June 18th”, Air Chief Marshall Anup Raha said while introducing the women. Also Read - IAF MiG-21 Crashes in Gwalior; Pilot, Co-pilot Eject Safely

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For Bhawna Kanth, she always dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot but then, came from a background where only the men were “allowed” to do such brave things. It was not a task for women. Fortunately for her, her parents understood and supported her and helped her in fulfilling her dream. While Bhawna had absolutely no military or defence background, the second IAF pilot, Mohana comes from an Air Force background with her father and grandpa both serving in the Air Force. However, they were not pilots but rather in transport but Mohana always aspired to be in the cockpit of a fighter plane. Though she took up a corporate job, her dreams were calling and she chose to become a pilot. Avani did not have to fight and being a pilot came naturally to her. She strongly believes in equality between the sexes and is glad that in the field she has chosen, the challenges before the men and the women do not really differ and both face the same tasks on ground or in the air. Also Read - Can face any challenge like a man, say women fighter pilot trainees

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However, while these women are breaking barriers and ushering in a new era of women independence, there’s one news that still casts a gloom on the joy. The female pilots in IAF are not a permanently deal but right now on a trial basis in the fighter stream for 5 years. Judging on the performance of these women, the plan to further recruit women pilots will be continued or scrapped. It is also because after the influx of women in the different defence forces, the number has been dropping in recent times and thus, the recruitment of women across different roles will be done in a careful and phased manner with experimentations and time stamps. But for now, congratulations and kudos to Bhawana, Mohana and Avani for going strong, achieving their dreams and making us all women proud!