Aai's power girl: Taniya Sanyal
AAI has welcomed its first woman firefighter, Taniya Sanyal, who is undergoing the same rigorous training as her male counterparts
Twentyfive-year-old Taniya Sanyal, hailing from Kolkata, has broken all rules to set a new record, as she became the first women firefighter at the Airport's Authority of India (AAI). It is a unique initiative taken by AAI to break the misogyny in the field of emergency firefighting as they inducted women as equal stakeholders in the industry's workforce. AAI is growing at a rapid pace as India is set to become the third largest aviation market in the world by 2020. The expansion of the airports demand skilled workforce and AAI currently has 3,310 firefighters for its 129 airports. The firefighter force is a mandatory department which is required for the safe landing of planes across the country.
"My prior experience of having set new recruitment rules for lady firefighters at Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation came handy here. At AAI, we have set new standards for recruiting women firefighters. Taniya is the first lady to have joined the ranks. I look forward to many more women firefighters standing at par with our male counterparts in the future," AAI Chairman Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra said to Millennium Post.
Taniya has been always inspired by her lady teachers, who have encouraged her to accomplish everything that she has aspired for. Her parents have always stood by as a support system, giving her the freedom to carve her own destination. She remembers – how her parents accompanied her to Bhubneshwar all the way from Kolkata for her AAI entrance examination.
This is the 73rd batch off AAI's fire training and, among the 55 candidates of BTC (Basic Training Course), she is undergoing the same rigorous, extensive training as the rest of her 54 male batchmates. The four-month training, which commenced on January 28 and will be ending on June 9, will entitle her to the position of Junior Assistant in fire service. Taniya expressed her excitements in joining the team and said, she is indeed thankful to AAI for giving her such a noble opportunity to be the first woman in the fire service - which could go a long way in encouraging several others to join this dynamic profession.
The firefighting team is a vital force in the aviation sector and introducing women has set a new standard for the selection procedure. The physical standards for male firefighters included a basic height requirement of about 1.6 meters and a minimum weight of 50 kg. The minimum weight for women firefighters was set at 40 kg and the height norms were also reduced. Despite relaxing the norms, the work requirements for women firefighters have been kept exactly the same, which is an important aspect of promoting gender equality.
Taniya, talking about her future, says unambiguously that she wants to excel in this field and wants to motivate more women to participate. She has always been an out-of-the-box thinker and her profession demands her service to humankind. As a part of AAI, she wishes to explore several more possibilities and opportunities with them.
The Kolkata girl has an MSc in Botany and a specialisation in Bharatnatyam, Kathak, and Rabindranritya. From being a girl next door to becoming a power girl, Taniya Sanyal wants to be an inspiration for the women of our country. To them she'd say, "Be confident and try something new, because you never know what is waiting for you."