KARACHI: Azka Malik has spent the past four years learning the ropes in order to become a commercial pilot, and now she’s ready to join the ranks of her male-dominated industry in the hopes of paving the way for other women.
According to statistics compiled by Women in Aviation International, women make up about 7% of commercial pilots worldwide. Though the exact percentage is unknown, it is significantly lower in Pakistan.


Women make up less than 7% of the world’s pilot population. Malik, now 23 years old, told Arab News on Tuesday that being a female pilot is “obviously a very big challenge for us girls to come out here,” as she sat in the cockpit of a Cessna at her aviation school.

She is entering the field after graduating from the Sky Wing academy in Karachi, unfazed by the sexism and other biases she may encounter.

“It’s incredible, that sense of freedom you get when you’re in the air. It’s unlike anything else in the world,” she exclaimed.

Increased female participation indicates positive change.
Women are also already at the forefront of fields like aircraft maintenance and mechanical support.

Committed to proving that aircraft maintenance is not exclusively a man’s job, Komal Khalid, a 25-year-old technician and fellow Sky Wing alum, thinks women have finally broken the glass ceiling.

Yes, it’s a competitive industry, but that doesn’t mean women can’t succeed in it. “We are here and we are doing it, right in front of you,” she emphasized. “There is no work in the world that only a man can do. These ideas are becoming antiquated.

And according to 25-year-old Subhana Anwer, who works as an aircraft maintenance technician, the field is open to anyone who can read the dense science textbooks

necessary to become an expert in it, regardless of gender.
“Being an aviation maintenance as a career, it takes a lot of studying, it takes a lot of hard work,” she said.

As a pilot, I can tell you that it takes a lot of effort to speak from the heart about aviation. Doing so is challenging. A great deal of homework must be completed. The hours are very late. There will be challenges, and, in all honesty, a lot of perseverance and hard work will be required.

It’s encouraging to see more women taking risks.
Sky Wings has trained 25 pilots and 42 aircraft technicians since 2019. There were seven female pilots and twenty-two female technicians. Sky Wings is just one of nine similar aviation schools in Pakistan.

According to Arab News, the school’s CEO, Imran Aslam Khan, said that several women he had trained as pilots, engineers, and technicians had found jobs with various airlines in Pakistan and abroad.

There will be no development in any country, we believe, until women are included in all sectors of the economy.