International Women's Day is on Wednesday, and demonstrations will soon be held across the globe to advocate for gender equality and celebrate the achievements of women. This past week, the Indian commercial airline Air India took its own Women's Day demonstration across the globe — literally — by completing the first around the world flight staffed entirely by an all-women crew.
The crew, which flew non-stop from New Delhi, India to San Francisco, California on Monday and returned to the Indian capital on Friday, traveled over 9,500 miles on its historic 15-and-a-half hour flight. Every aspect of the flight was controlled and monitored by women — from the captain, to the cockpit crew, to the air traffic control dispatchers — sending a powerful message about the ability of women to take charge in traditionally male-dominated fields.
The flight's crew hoped the accomplishment would encourage young girls across India to seek careers in professions generally believed to be reserved for men. According to the India Post, the crew made a statement about the message they hope this flight conveys:
And the flight crew's words apply to so many other male-dominated occupational fields in which women are indirectly discouraged from entering, like science and math.
Air India claims first journey around the world with all-women crew via BBC News https://t.co/0jmmWnz242— Indian Link (@indian_link) March 6, 2017
The photos depict women embracing women — together in the struggle against gender normative expectations, and together in the triumph of defying those odds.
They depict women showing the world what it can look like when traditionally male spaces are converted into venues of inclusivity and empowerment — an image that is particularly powerful given that globally, only 4,000 out of 130,000 airline pilots are women, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.
One flight doesn't change much in the global fight for gender equality. But it does have the ability to, at least visually, depict a world in which women can thrive in traditionally male-dominated roles. And hopefully this all-female flight crew is just the beginning of something that becomes more of a trend worldwide.