Looking up to her father who worked as a pilot in Pakistan, Khansa Ayyaz has always dreamt of taking to the skies.
The dream is getting closer to reality, thanks to the scholarships she received from Women in Aviation International, alongside other students from the Fanshawe College Norton Wolf School of Aviation and Aerospace Technology.
“Growing up, my dad flew for an airline in Pakistan,” Ayyaz told CBC News.
“I also have a lot of my uncles and cousins that were into aviation as well.”
As a hijabi Muslim, Ayyaz had to break many false taboos to pursue her career ambitions.
“Obviously, there are so many religious aspects to it, where people are just like, ‘Oh, you’re a Muslim girl. Muslim girls don’t do careers like that or even have a career,’ right? Because, for women, we’re always told that we’re supposed to stay at home and be in the kitchen and men are supposed to provide,” she said.
In a country where male pilots outnumber female pilots 12 to one, according to the latest statistics from Transport Canada, Ayyaz hopes to inspire more women to pursue a career in aviation.
“This is like a dream for me. It’s my passion and I believe that women should be able to do anything that they put their mind to, especially if it’s in aviation. There should be more women being pilots,” she said.
More Muslim women have been following their dreams recently.
In 2022, Hassanah Al-Saba earned her wings in August, becoming the first Muslim woman pilot in Jamaica.
Iram Habib also became Kashmir’s first commercial pilot in 2018.