This International Women’s Day, Celebrate Women Pilots
In 1932, Amelia Earhart become the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. All by herself. She was awarded the US Distinguided Flying Cross and instantly became an American hero.
Unfortunately, 87 years later, the US aviation industry still struggles with the assumption that being a pilot is primarily a male-oriented occupation. In fact, only 5.12 percent of commercial pilots in the United States are women.
Groups such as the International Society of Women Airline Pilots give scholarships and work to increase the number of women pilots in the field. And multiple airlines, such as Alaska Airlines, are actively trying to recruit more women pilots.
Many women pilots report that while many structural barriers have fallen away, there is still a mental barrier. Because the stigma exists that a woman is assumed to be a flight attendant rather than a pilot, many women grow up without thinking that being a pilot is even a possibility. And of course, there still remains bias in the hiring and interview process as well.
With an ongoing pilot shortage, recruiting more women into aviation seems like a win-win. That’s why for International Women’s Day, Airline Pilots Central is recognizing all the efforts of women pilots and those that work to get more women into the field.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. This date was originally made a holiday in Soviet Russia after women gained the right to vote in 1917 – 3 years before the passage of the 19th Amendment in the United States.
Workers around the world began celebrating the March 8th holiday, and it was eventually recognized as the International Women’s Day by the United Nations.
The UN’s official theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.” We’d like to believe that the aviation industry, from its very beginnings, embodies the themes of intelligent innovation. So this 8th of March, we celebrate women pilots.