Women have soared into the air since 1932, more specifically since Amelia Mary Earhart, the first female aviator to fly over the Atlantic. She first gained fame by being the first female passenger on a flight across the Atlantic. Earhart was displeased that the pilot Wilmer Schultz did all the flying while she just sat there like “a sack of potatoes” as she stated. She was headstrong and dead set on proving that she can make the flight herself and not only did she achieve it but on August 25th of the same year, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to complete a solo nonstop transcontinental flight, which covered 2,448 miles from Los Angeles to Newark. She walked so that women can run, hence why aren’t more women taking advantage of this opportunity that many before didn’t have?
It’s been 88 years since then and becoming a pilot is still considered a male-dominated profession. 88 years and female pilots make up only 7.9% of all certificated pilots. If Emelia Earhart can do it in 1932 when women didn’t have the rights they have today and the countless platforms available to speak about anything that bothers them. Thus what’s preventing them now? what’s the reason? If learning to fly is an option for you and most importantly is something you are passionate about, you have no excuse. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, said “we must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold on us but also the stereotypes we have on ourselves”
What can be done in order to encourage more girls to become pilots?
Spread awareness, organize events, and make an effort to help people understand that the aim is to motivate both boys and girls into this profession. Then step by step, the society we live in will normalize the fact that not only men can become pilots and not become surprised every time they hear of a female pilot in this day and age, in order to build a better future.
Fortunately, there is progress but it is relatively slow. When it comes to aviation, we live in a patriarchy. In order to speed up the process and grow, we must abolish the doubt once and for all, and believe in women’s exceptional abilities. Starting with spreading awareness through social media, television, and writing more about the topic. Organize events addressing girls as well as boys, making it clear that aviation is for everyone. Thus gradually our society will see it as another norm and stop becoming irrationally frightened knowing that a female pilot is flying the aircraft, and realize that these women received the same training and have the same knowledge as their fellow counterparts. In fact, women tend to work and try harder in order to prove to everyone that they are able to do an excellent job, while men are already considered doing a good job until proven otherwise.
Are men better pilots than women?
No, and vice versa. Gender plays no role in this whatsoever. Whether he or she is a good pilot, solely depends on the person’s knowledge and expertise. Therefore, the question isn’t “can women become pilots”, it’s “what’s stopping them?!”.
Cover Image by KLM