So many of us had fanciful childhood dreams about what we will do when we grow up. Some of us wanted to be astronauts, some of us wanted to be detectives, and some wanted nothing more than to fly a plane. Anny Divya, the world’s youngest woman commander to fly a Boeing 777, not only achieved her dream, she moved beyond it.
Interested in the profession since childhood, the army child was supported by her parents, but her friends and relatives thought otherwise. She was made fun of, as being a pilot was not considered to be a profession for women. Growing up in the small town of Vijaywada, the girl faced both financial issues and the pressure that comes from having to learn English. Still, nothing dettered her. When she got through Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), her parents took out a loan to finance her education. Mocked relentlessly for her English, she thought more than once of going back, thinking the cultural shock of moving to a big city too much. Yet, everyday she persisted for the sake of her dreams.
Hired by Air India after her training was completed, the then nineteen year old was sent to Spain to train. Gaining confidence, honing her skills and turning her passion into reality, she continued to thrive, and started flying a Boeing 737. At 21, she was sent to London and got an opportunity to fly a Boeing 777. That was a turning point in her life.
Apart from being a pilot, she has learned classical keyboard, earned a degree in BSc Aviation and law.
Though she had struggled from the gender discrimination that was attached to her profession, she is optimistic about the future women in aviation in India. The idea that flying planes is not for women has washed away, in large part due to the work of fearless women like Anny Divya. India has a higher average of women in the field, approximately 15% compared to the world average of 5. In this aspect, we have left many developed countries behind.
However, the industry still remains male-dominated, but Anny believes that with hard work and parental support, anyone can make it if they truly wish to.