Nowadays, just over 5% of commercial flight pilots are women, according to the International Airline Pilots Association.
The country with the most female pilots is India, and Asian airlines are the ones that employ the highest proportion of female pilots. This is undoubtedly one of the professions with the greatest gender inequality.
In Spain, the most recent data indicates that there are only about 258 aviators affiliated with SEPLA, compared to the more than 6,000 pilots currently affiliated. However, in the last two years there has been a slight increase, from 3.5% to 4% of women pilots with respect to the total. To understand the role of women in aviation, the context must also be taken into account. Originally, the scope of aviation application was exclusively military, a sector reserved almost exclusively for men. With the arrival of air transport to the civil sector, women joined this incipient means of transport, but as flight attendants, which mostly came from nursing tasks. Not in vain, traveling through the air caused numerous physical problems, especially fearsome dizziness, and no less frequent injuries caused by turbulence.
Since then and today, despite the fact that British Airways came to have a Concorde commander or that Iberia already has retired pilots, the incorporation of women is still taking place very gradually.
In the opinion of pilot women currently in practice, one of the determining factors of the small number of women at the controls of an airplane is the lack of references in the profession. In fact, many of them acknowledge that they have shown interest in this profession due to a family environment linked to aeronautical activity.Speaking of female pilots, we cannot fail to mention one of the best known female characters in recent history: Amelia Earhart. Earhart became in 1932 the first woman to cross the Atlantic alone. Unfortunately, he disappeared with his plane and his flight mechanic in the Pacific Ocean, when he tried in 1937 to travel around the world aboard a twin-engine Lockheed L-10 Electra. The exact place where his remains rest remains a mystery today. Hearhart, whose pilot career led him to be a hero in the United States, promoted a series of feminist values that promoted equality and demonstrated how high a woman could get if she intended.
Airlines around the world are currently intensifying their efforts to recruit more women pilots in order to meet the growing demand for travel, since in the coming years a large number of pilots will be required, as we already indicated in this article. (reference to a previous post).
For example, in Air France the number of female pilots is higher than the average, with 8%, and that of KLM of 6.7%. These companies are the ones that most women employ as pilots in Europe.
Easyjet has the Amy Johnson program. This initiative launched by the company in 2015 aims to double the number of new female pilots in its workforce to achieve a 12% presence in two years. From the company they say that they have received a very good response to this initiative and that they already have 33 new women pilots thanks to it. The new objective of Easyjet is that 20% of the new cadets hired by 2020 are women.
Iberia, together with Sepla, also promotes the growth of pilot women through the Aviators Platform to “promote the approach to aviation at an early age, both girls and boys”. In the Spanish airline there are 63 female pilots, compared to 1,237 men.
In EAS Barcelona, we also promote this growth. In October, seven new students began training at our facilities as ATPL pilots, who are now going to increase the number of those who previously started their training. A hopeful upward continuous line, which we hope will continue to increase exponentially in the coming months.
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