Women in Aviation: the future looks bright for female aviators

It’s nearly six months since the AeroTime team celebrated International Women’s Day by highlighting stories of women who have had a significant impact on the aviation industry. The celebration turned into the Women in Aviation (WIA) campaign, dedicated to recognizing the role of women in the sector.

Changes in gender diversity in the aviation industry

When we launched our Women in Aviation week earlier this year, we had such a great response from the global aviation community that we knew we had to do more. And so we embarked on a six-month Women in Aviation campaign dedicated to the achievement, encouragement and advancement of women in various careers in the industry, many of whom were keen to share their stories with us. 

“AeroTime wanted to play our part in encouraging the next generation of women to join our industry, and that‘s how the Women In Aviation campaign was born,” says AeroTime Chief Executive, Richard Stephenson.

AeroTime believes that we have a duty to recognize the role women have played in the industry and to share their stories.  We want to highlight that there remain many areas  and professions across our industry where the number of women could be much higher in the future.

Now more than ever, achieving diversity and inclusivity across the aviation industry is a crucial topic. Even though the number of women involved in the sector has steadily increased during the last two decades, aviation still faces many challenges in meeting societal demands for gender equality. 

Depending on the region, the number of women involved in the aviation sector varies. For instance, the Aeronautical Center of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) calculated that, by the beginning of 2021, the United States had about 692,000 pilots, but only around 59,000 (8.4%) were female. Meanwhile, nearly 219,000 women were employed in other roles in aircraft maintenance, flight navigation, air traffic control, and aircraft engineering. Comparing the recent data to the past, the number of women in aviation specifically in the US in the 2000s was reaching around 35,600 female pilots and slightly more than 2,000 females holding other positions in the industry. Although changes in terms of gender diversity in the industry are noticeable, the numbers of women involved are still low.

The Women in Aviation campaign: searching for the world’s brightest and best

At AeroTime, we are passionate about aviation and determined to encourage meaningful change by highlighting equality, diversity, and female inclusiveness across the sector. We want to keep telling the stories of inspirational women who have made aviation their career.

Stephenson says: “We want to investigate the role of women in the aviation sector and we aim to encourage the brightest and the best people to join our industry regardless of characteristics like gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The reason why we are focused on women is that we identify so many amazing and inspirational women, who have for many years done so much to develop our industry. We have to tell all of these amazing stories of people to highlight their efforts and contributions to our sector. Like Australian Captain Deborah Lawrie, who became the first female pilot to fly for a major Australian airline after winning a discrimination case in the 1970s and Captain Zoya who led an all female Air India crew to fly the longest commercial route from San Francisco to Bangalore.  They, and many more, are encouraging the next generation to join our aviation industry.”

Unfortunately, certain challenges are still commonplace for women in the aviation sector. During the Women In Aviation campaign, some female aviators have told us about experiences that have held back their career progression. The goal of the Women In Aviation campaign is to prompt the rest of the industry to play their part in ensuring that, hopefully, in the near future, stories about gender-based discrimination are left in past. 

Celebrating women in aviation the whole year round

In order to celebrate the six-month mark, our new ten-day campaign will bring you new stories of women from around the world. While events like International Women’s Day are incredibly important, we believe that #onedayisnotenough and so we will continue our work throughout the year.

“I’m very excited that we mark the six-month period of our Women in Aviation campaign, and we will continue to celebrate female aviators around the world in the months ahead,” says Stephenson. “I think that one of the great things about this campaign is that we’ve already brought the bigger role of women across the sector to life through our campaign.”

Encouraging the next generation

To date, the AeroTime team has interviewed women across five continents, from female flight crew, professors and aircraft engineers to other professionals working in the industry. To recognize the significant contribution made by individuals and teams in our sector, we developed the AeroTime Aviation Achievement Award which, so far, has been given to 25 people, 22 of whom were women. 

Stephenson says: “22 amazing women have received the AeroTime Aviation Achievement Award and three more will be announced during our new campaign. I have been honoured to have the opportunity to present these awards on behalf of our global executive team and I am looking forward to reading the next round of nominations. We’ve already recognized some inspirational and groundbreaking women for their determination, courage and achievements and there are many more we will want to applaud.”

The three new women recipients, who have changed the way that gender issues are addressed in aviation, will be announced during the Six Months Special WIA campaign, which will be launched on Monday, August 30, 2021. 

The AeroTime Women in Aviation campaign, which now marks its six-month milestone and has reached millions, is taking the lead in encouraging the next generation of female professionals to join our fulfilling, innovative and inspirational industry.

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