“There is a huge number of girls and young women who would like to become military pilots. We received hundreds of letters, so we decided that this year we will enroll the first group of girls to the Krasnodar Military Aviation School,” the minister said.
“There won’t be many of them, just 15 students, but given the number of applications received, we just couldn’t ignore these requests,” Shoigu said.
The modern Russian Army has about 45,000 female contract soldiers, who fulfill their military duties along with the men. The total number of young women, related to the Russian Army, exceeds 326,000 and increases every year.
During WWII nearly 600,000 female pilots fought against German Nazis and over 90,000 of them received Hero of the Soviet Union military awards. In military circles, some of these women were even nicknamed “Night Witches,” because they terrified German troops with the characteristic roar of the Soviet planes during their night flights.
However, nowadays the number of women working as pilots, let alone military pilots, remains very low. This trend is true not only for Russia, but for almost all countries worldwide.
Women first started entering pilot training programs in the 1970s, but since then progress has been quite slow.
The community of female military pilots remains very small, although aviation training for women has been officially permitted in the US, the UK and other countries in the last few decades.
© Sputnik/ Alexander Vilf
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