6 Reasons Why Women Should Pursue Their Pilot Career Today
Female pilots serve as an essential asset to the airline industry. Want to learn more? Here are 6 reasons why women should pursue a pilot career today.
Only 3% of pilots worldwide are women.
To put this into perspective, for every hundred pilots, three of them are women while ninety-seven are men!
There are a lot of reasons to explain this large disparity, with societal expectations being a big contributor. From a survey that polled 2,000 women about their thoughts of obtaining a pilot career, 33% stated they passed it off because there weren't role models to look up to. That, and being told it was a "man's job" (10%).
This is quite disheartening, especially since it's been roughly over 80 years since Helen Richey became the first female pilot to fly a commercial airliner.
Nonetheless, the figures are increasing. The percentage of female pilots working for Ryanair has increased, from 6% to 8%. Also, several airlines have started programs designated to attract female pilots, with easyJet's Amy Johnson Initiative being one of them.
And, many passengers are excited to see that their pilot is a woman, as it inspires their daughters to consider this as a future profession.
This is but two of the reasons why women should pursue a pilot career now. Read on to learn the four other reasons!
1. Be the role model you didn't have to young girls
Just as we mentioned, young girls and women can become inspired seeing you in the pilot uniform.
Since passengers don't see female pilots often, you're a heroine and role model in these women's eyes. And you may even inspire them to enroll in flight school.
Also, by becoming a pilot today you're forging the path for women pilots in the future, much like female doctors did in the past.
Inspiration from female doctors
Speaking of which, remember when doctors and surgeons were primarily male? Not many women were entering the field due to the same reasons women are bypassing the pilot career path now: lack of role models (as previously mentioned).
However, this changed when more women barrelled ahead and got their medical license anyways.
Now, one in three doctors is a woman.
2. Female captains report they're welcomed by their crew
While some female pilots have said they've heard a line or two on their pilot career path that this wasn't for them. Many say that once they become captain, they didn't deal with poor comments or disrespect.
In fact, according to a CNN Travel article, one female pilot said she only ever had one incident. And that was a passenger who had a fear of flights and didn't feel comfortable having a woman for a pilot.
While the comment was inappropriate and uncalled for, the fact that this was the only comment this female pilot has experienced in her career shows that we are becoming more progressive.
3. There are more programs available that encourage women pilots
EasyJet especially has taken the reins on promoting women pilots. In 2015, the airline launched the Amy Johnson Initiative. Its goal is to have 20% of their pilots female. Specifically, the initiative wants to add 50 new female pilots each year by 2020.
Virgin Atlantic also has a program, the Future Flyers Program, which focuses on appealing to more diverse and female pilots. Of the 12 pilots recruited, according to a guardian article, four of them are female.
4. More options to pay for flight school
It's understood that flight school is very expensive, costing around $100,000. This cost alone is a huge hurdle for women (and men) who want to attend flight school. It can be especially challenging if you don't have someone financially helping you out with this expense.
However, some women may not want to take out several loans or enlist in the military (which pays for flight school). Know that you still have options. Some women pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering and work as a flight instructor, accruing enough hours to pay for flight school.
There are several scholarships available now that specifically single out women. The Women in Aviation and Association for Women in Aviation are but two organizations that offer scholarships and grants for women to pursue their pilot careers.
5. Know that you're just as good as your male colleagues
There is no specific attribute that would make a male pilot better than a female pilot.
In fact, it's a blend of masculine and feminine characteristics. Specifically, multitasking, communication, and handling different personalities are some feminine characteristics a good pilot would need to have.
Furthermore, a study revealed that only ten Army helicopters piloted by women crash compared to one hundred helicopters flown by men.
(While the statistics are too obscure to determine if female helicopter pilots are better than men—since only 3% of women are army helicopter pilots—it shows that women are just as capable.)
6. Enjoy the perks of a pilot career
As a pilot, you get to travel...while getting paid. You can fly to Italy one day and enjoy authentic Italian pizza. And then fly to Hawaii where you can chill on a beach after your shift.
Plus, you have a flexible schedule. And you're not working a standard 9-to-5 job at a desk. Which makes work stories interesting.
Then there's the pay. While pilots don't start out with a high salary, you will eventually get it. In fact, the median salary for a pilot is around $127,000.
Of course, this depends on what aircraft you fly, with those who pilot jets generally making a higher income.
On top of that, you'll earn (several) frequent flyer miles (and should receive a discount from the airline you work for). This means your family can vacation on a sizeable budget.
Bonus: You can celebrate International Women's Day in style
EasyJet recognized International Women's Day by having a special flight entirely staffed by women. And it wasn't just the crew. The ground staff was all female too.
So, what are you waiting for? We encourage you to check out flight schools.
For more information about how to start your pilot career, contact us. And, while you're at it, check out our blog, including our article, Negotiating Pilot Salaries and Contracts. That way, you have an idea of what to ask for if you do decide to become a pilot.