With the changing social and cultural patterns of the society, there has been an ongoing shift to promote greater gender diversity as an organizational strategy acting as a key corporate performance driver for attaining the competitive edge. As women participation in leadership positions start increasing, women leaders continue to build efficacious leadership skills so as to thrive with compassion, empathy and cooperation in order to compete in a masculine work environment. Radhika Bhandari, Director WIIA, Aviation Dean, has extensive experience in the field of education and leadership.
Educational Leadership & Beyond
WIIA was established in 2004 with necessary approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Government of India. Since then WIIA has evolved from being a regional leader to a national leader in supplying AME professionals to the industry. With a vision of being ‘Atma-nirbhar’ much before the Government of India had officially declared a national move. WIIA envisioned the crucial importance of the aviation industry that it brings to today’s world and the value it adds to the national economy. Today WIIA is led by Radhika Bhandari, a young pragmatic leader. She’s taken up the baton of WIIA, and gearing up to be a globally recognized organization. for the IATA has pledged 25 by 2025, that is at least 25% of women should work in the aviation industry by 2025 in line with a global motto, Radhika Bhandari has an emphasis on women in aviation, she’s is one of the only female leaders in an aviation organization in India.
Radhika Bhandari is a young aviation enthusiast and has been exposed to aviation since childhood. With her innately inquisitive nature, she did her engineering in metallurgy; an area where usually males were in majority but she was always interested in understanding fundamentals and Metallurgy was one of those fields where you learn all about ‘Materials’ which is the backbone of Aviation industry. It also made her explore the manufacturing process of various industries that eventually helped her to understand the aviation industry from scratch. She firmly believes that as being one of the very few female leaders in the Indian Aviation industry, she is in a position to bring about a change in the male dominant aviation industry and empower women to make a career in this field, an area where they had less representation earlier. “It was very interesting for me to know that India has the highest proportion of female commercial pilots in any country, which is 13%, and the global average is about 5%. With this intention, I got into this field to give my contribution in other aviation fields.” shares Radhika Bhandari.
Motivating Girls Education
Ms. Bhandari is a big advocate of multidisciplinary skills and her upbringing has been done in manner wherein she has been encouraged to pursue multiple skills in a balanced manner. From learning to be a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, she is also a rifle shooter and horse rider. She is currently working in the aviation industry as a Director of Western India Institute of Aeronautics Pvt. Ltd. from Ahmedabad. A multitasker by nature, she is also the Dean of Aviation at Indus University. Radhika Bhandari is passionately curious about the vast heritage of India’s intellectual tradition. She firmly believes that India’s knowledge system is a huge repository of brilliant ideas, finest thinkers and original thinking. Ms. Bhandari shares, “I would like to learn, restore and integrate this knowledge system into aviation academia to make our education system more holistic, global and yet local in approach, keeping us rooted in our civilizational ethos.” With a rapid expansion of the education sector where we are having a lot of non-traditional options available – girls are now being encouraged to develop their technical skills from a young age and make their way into an area where they had less representation earlier.
Radhika Bhandari completed her M.Sc in Management from University of Warwick, UK, January in 2019 and B.E in Metallurgical Engineering from Indus Institute of Technology & Engineering, Ahmedabad in July 2014. Being the only institute at WIIA having their own aircraft Boeing 737-200 in India, under Ms. Radhika’s able leadership and guidance, the aviation institute offers hands-on exposure to aircrafts such as – Learjet-24, Zenith Ch-2000, Su-17, Cessna-152. “Also, having come a long way in bridging the gender-ratio gap, we rose from about 9.3% (2020) to 35% in 2022 – female employee ratio, and Female students increased from 10.5 % to 29 % in 2021 (highest ever in our company’s history)”, shared Radhika Bhandari ecstatically. WIIA in collaboration with Indus University gave away the hostel facilities for 500 Covid 19 and contributed to the Chief Minister and Prime Minister fund. Indus University and WIIA helped in refilling oxygen cylinders to hospitals, NGOs and Government Machinery at Kutch. WIIA aims at creating gender equality and promoting female participation, Aviation industry has more male representation, the initiative has attracted more females to come forward and establish themselves equally. Global and more exposure of practical skills, providing holistic education to students by teaching them about the Indian knowledge system.