Forging a new path, she flies high

Yevgeniya Goncharova


Yevgeniya Goncharova
Photo courtesy of Yevgeniya Goncharova

She creates an unfamiliar sight on the tarmac, as she goes about her daily job. At the age of 25, she flies planes, serving as a pilot for one of the biggest airline in Central Asia. One among a handful of women in a male-dominated field is how she is known not only in Kazakhstan where she is based, but also in the region.

Yevgeniya Goncharova has broken numerous barriers and climbed many mountains to get to where she is today. The road travelled was not an easy one. With gender stereotypes still strong in Central Asian societies, flying aircrafts is not considered a woman’s job in Kazakhstan, nor is her young age considered an advantage.

“Traditionally this profession is considered to be a man's profession… there were some people who told me that my decision to be a pilot is doomed to fail; it's just my fantastic dream. But if you can exert every effort it is possible to achieve everything,” she says.

Determination drove her on, from the Academy of Civil Aviation in Kazakhstan to the Florida Institute of Technology in the United States to the Atlantic Flight Training Academy in Ireland, and finally back to the capital city of Astana in her own country, for a job she loves.

Looking back at her non-traditional career choice, she says: “Seems to me, not only for me but also for everybody, the most important factors that have helped to achieve my goal are self-confidence and self-efficacy. It is very important to keep faith in what you're doing, in an ultimate goal. I am a pilot in a big airline company and of course the way of being who I am today wasn't smooth and easy. ... Therefore from time to time it is necessary to apply firmness of character and to be at one higher level because…it's necessary to prove that you're worthy of this job.”

“The main words that I'd like to tell the younger generation are not to waste your time; pay attention to your self-education. There are a lot of possibilities for self-development; the main thing is not to stop at a certain level, and try to have as many opportunities as possible in this life. And for all women in our world I would like to wish [them] to be strong, confident, and never give up in life. The most important [thing] in our life is to be who you want to be, instead of who somebody wants you to be.”

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