Real Answers from Real Pilots

Women pilots

I have always wondered why there is not a lot of women pilots, why is that is it because they don’t consider women to be able to do the job. Do they make it harder for women? I have always wanted to fly airplanes but was not sure if women were allowed to be pilots until recently. I want to continue the growth of women and flying by becoming a woman pilot. Are women welcomed with open arms to become pilots?

Hi Zakiya,

It’s a loaded question, but I think the smaller percentage of women pilots in part has to do with societal norms in our country as a whole. It was not long ago that the nuclear family was the norm - dad working, mom staying at home with the two kids, etc. That said, that has drastically and rapidly changed over the years, especially recently, and there are a lot of women entering aviation (and other fields). In fact, the last two flights I’ve taken have been all-female crews. I’m also a woman and a licensed pilot and my training and opportunities were no different from my male peers.

There are a lot of great organizations for women in aviation - check out ‘Women in Aviation’ and ‘The Ninety-Nines’ for starters. If you want to change the ratio of women to men in aviation, I suggest getting up in the air :slight_smile:

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Hey Zakiya,

I am a female pilot with SkyWest Airlines. No one “makes things harder” for women. As Tracy mentioned, it seems to be more of a generational issue. For instance, there are not many female Captains at my airline but there are very many female First Officers. As the younger generation starts to come into the age where they will be joining aviation, we see more and more. I don’t think it has ever gone above 10% though. It may also be because the skill set required is typically things associated stereotypically with men (math, physics, hand-eye coordination, etc). As time goes on, I am sure we will start to see a higher percentage of women overall. All I can say is that I have never looked at myself as any different than the person in the seat next to me or the people I trained aside, and as a result of that mindset I was able to be successful. It doesn’t matter at all to me who else flies, all I know is I do it and I love it. You have to do it for yourself.

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Thank you all for the words and insight as women pilot it’s very motivating and it’s making me more excited about becoming a pilot. I myself don’t look at me as being any different. So I am going for it. Whatever it takes I committed to it.

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I love that! Great mindset to have. Keep in touch and let me know if you ever have any questions along the way!

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Hi Zakiya,

While I’m only a private pilot at the moment I do fly a decent amount as a passenger for business and I often stay at the same hotels as United flight crews. Since I mostly fly United I usually interact with them when I get a chance as many times they are crewing the flight I’m on. I was waiting on a ride in the hotel lobby last week in Shanghai right around the time the United PVG-ORD crew gathers to take their bus to the airport. I didn’t get a chance to talk with them as my ride showed up right about the time I was going to say hello to the Captain of the flight. If you guessed the point of this story was that the Captain was a female you would be right! I often see quite a few female crews during my travels so go for it!