Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - For
centuries relegated to the margins of society and considered inferior to men,
Nepali women have succeeded in emancipating themselves during these years of
secular democracy. Some of them now occupy important positions once unthinkable
and this is due to the gradual opening of the country to foreign organizations
and associations for women's rights.
Anusha Udas, 22, works as a co-pilot for Fishtail Air, a small Nepalese airline. The girl is among 28 women pilots employed in about 400 airports and runways spread across the country, where the airplane is one of the main means of transport.
The young woman says: "As soon as I saw a plane take off into the sky at a speed that I had never seen before, I knew I was destined to fly. My heart started pounding and that was a sign to me, so I decided to follow my dream. " To achieve this dream, Udas faced the harsh dictates of the Hindu society of Nepal, where until a few decades ago Sati-pratha was practiced, where widows were burned on the funeral pyre of their husband.
Unlike other families, the girl's parents are part of a more open generation. They have lived through the period of civil war between the monarchy and the Maoists that in 2007 led to the fall of the Hindu kingdom and the proclamation of a secular state. However, Udas also needed to great perseverance and determination to convince her father to send to her to South Africa for a pilot's course. In Nepal there are no schools of aviation, the only option is to go abroad, with costs which may extend to 58 thousand dollars.
After the course, Udas returned to Nepal in search of work, knocking on the doors of all the airlines in the country, only to hear each and every time that this was not a woman's work, flying is too strenuous. After nine months of repeated disappointments, Fishtail Air, a small short-staffed local transport company took her on and in a short time she became a co-pilot. "Now my dream is to become a captain - she says - the next goal is to reach the thousands of flight hours required by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
Born in the 50s, the Nepal Air Force has always been a place for men only. The first woman to enroll in a course for pilots was Prabha Vaidya in 1979. The course was organized by the Canadian government, which had offered the opportunity to train Nepalese pilots. Vaidya presented herself along with 24 other candidates, but her application was denied because of her gender. She never became a pilot, but was the first woman air traffic controller in the history of Nepal.