From a dreamer to becoming the world's youngest commander to fly Boeing 777, the story of Captain Anny Divya

In a conversation at HerStory's Women on from A Mission series, Captain Anny Divya describes her journey from a child who dreamed to fly to becoming the youngest commander in the world to fly the Boeing 777.

From a dreamer to becoming the world's youngest commander to fly Boeing 777, the story of Captain Anny Divya

Thursday March 17, 2022,

4 min Read

‘When I told my mother about my dream to fly, she told me I needed to earn my wings’: Captain Anny Divya 

Captain Anny Divya is the world’s youngest commander to fly a Boeing 777. At the Women on a Mission event, she spoke about finding her space in male-dominated aviation industry.

If one holds on to their dream for long, it eventually comes true. Captain Anny Divya was a young kid who dreamt of flying in the sky. Today, she is living her dream as a pilot. She is also recognised as the youngest commander to fly the Boeing 777, the longest twin-jet aircraft in the world. 

“Whenever I would look up to the sky, I was very inquisitive about being in the clouds. When I told my mother about my dream to fly in the sky, she told me that I needed to earn my wings to fly by becoming a pilot,” says Anny.

After graduating from school at the age of 17, Anny enrolled at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), a flying school in Uttar Pradesh. At the age of 19, she began her career with Air India and at the age of 21, she flew her first Boeing 777. 

Captain Anny Divya

The bias that lies within

Despite being an acclaimed pilot, Anny had to face instances of bias throughout her journey, both within and outside India.

“We don’t realise it, but the bias is extreme in other countries apart from India as well. I was on one of the flights where my co-pilot was a guy from another country. He commented that women should stay in the kitchen and not fly planes. I said, ‘One should choose a job based on what they can do best and I don’t mind being in the kitchen. But if I can fly better, I should be flying and if you are good at cooking then you should try staying in the kitchen and maybe you will be better there."

Changing the horizon of aviation

Although aviation might be heavily male-dominated, Anny feels the narrative is changing over the years. She adds that the aviation industry is evolving and adding more women over the years.

“Because of women empowerment programmes and the government’s efforts to further the career of girls, 14 percent of the Indian civil aviation industry is filled with women. The percentage is much higher when compared with the world average of 4 to 5 percent,” adds Anny.

Looking back

As mentioned earlier Anny set out to achieve her dream right after her schooling. 

“When you are young and successful, people tend to spread rumours and they can be very mean. At one point in time, I had shut myself out from the world. I would avoid get-togethers, lock myself in my room after the flight and avoid meeting anyone. But then I realised that it was not my problem, but that of the people. I like how my younger self braved the odds and overcame the difficult phase,” recalls Anny.

What makes women stronger

For Anny, every challenge has been a milestone. She urges young women leaders to have faith in time and to accept failure and success with gratitude to become successful.

“Times will always change. Both good and bad times pass by. In case of bad times, do what you can do best but don’t worry about things that you have no control over. Yes, I agree, women have to work harder than men in any field. But that is what makes us stronger. Also, it is important to fail sometimes. One should take success and failure with grace,” concludes Anny.

A shout out to the sponsors of Women on Mission Summit 2022, an Initiative by HerStory, by YourStory - BYJU'S, the presenting partner, and other sponsors - Kyndryl, Sequoia Spark, Zilingo, Atlassian, Akamai, Freshworks for Startups, and Netapp Excellerator.

Sponsor shoutout