We’ve mentioned issues and barriers specific for female or would be female pilots in the past (see Teaching women to fly and What are the training barriers for female pilots?) but Cathy Gale has posted a lengthy article from CNN Travel on the Winged Victory Women in Aviation Webzine about the lack of female airline pilots that is well worth reading by both current and would be female pilots. The CNN Travel article included a couple of startling statistics about female airline pilots, including:
- Women make up just 5% of the 53,000 members of the Air Line Pilots Association, a pilot association for pilots at major and regional carriers in the USA and Canada.
- Only about 450 women worldwide are airline captains according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. In other words, they are pilots in command who supervise all other crew members on a flight.
- Cathy herself also wrote at the beginning of her post a news article from 2008 about UK pilot Lynn Barton which mentioned that out of the 10,000 airline pilots in the UK, only 175 were women.
The CNN Travel article then noted that one of the biggest hurdles women face to become pilots are financial obstacles as going the civilian route to become an airline pilot can cost up to US$100,000 in training while women who do train to become any type of pilot tend to do so because of a family connection to the profession or to aviation.
Hence, we want to ask you our readers who regularly fly on commercial airlines a simple question: When was the last time you flew and heard a woman’s voice over the loudspeaker? What airline was it and where were you flying to?