Aviation industry pioneer Zoya Agarwal talks about gender equality and achieving dreams

Air India Captain Zoya Agarwal is a pioneer in the field of her childhood dreams. The world’s first woman to fly a Boeing-777, last year she commanded an all-female crew that flew the world’s longest commercial flight from San Francisco to Bangalore.

Zoya was eight years old when she dreamed of becoming a pilot much to the chagrin of her middle-class parents.

During a fireside chat at HerStory’s Women On a Mission summit, Zoya said, “My mom started crying when she heard I wanted to be a pilot. I was the only girl in the family and she asked me if I couldn’t do anything normal like the other girls.

“Having a dream made me overcome a lot of obstacles in my life. I went against my societal norms, against mine and against my parents and so I had to work incredibly hard to be able to achieve it” , said Zoya, who was only the fifth female pilot at Air India when she joined the airline industry.

To some extent, Zoya is surprised that she stayed true to her dream despite seeing her tearful mother. “I think it takes a lot for a little kid to see their parents like that, but I still kept following my heart and honestly, that’s about all I’ve done my whole life. life. if I had to do it again, I still wouldn’t do it any other way,” she adds.

Dreams are asexual

At the same time, Zoya has become equally suspicious of the gender biases that exist early in her life. One of a handful of women in the aviation industry, Zoya remained cautious about drawing the roadmap for other young girls who would join the airline after her.

“I’ve never allowed myself any gender bias because I’ve never treated myself less than any other boy. The pilot’s seat doesn’t know if I’m piloting it or if my male counterpart is flying. It only understands that the job has to be done,” she said.

“Gender bias exists and what makes it sad is that we make it a reality. When children are born in our homes, we divide them into boy and girl and tell them that these are acceptable dreams for you.

Once everything is split equally between a girl and a boy, it’s going to change the world because dreams are genderless and that’s when those gender biases are going to go away, she added.

Even when well-meaning people may say that dreams are hypothetical and to stay in reality, Zoya advised to have a dream and a vision will guide towards a better future.