The Aviation Industry Wants YOU
Admittedly, there is a
wide gender gap in aviation... particularly among pilots and
mechanics. But the word is getting out, with the help of events
like Saturday's Aerospace Career Day, organized by the Girl Scouts
and the Alaskan Chapter of the 99s.
With the mission of raising awareness for women considering a
future in aviation, the event featured speakers from a wide range
of careers, including air traffic control, airport
management, and pilots, in a KTUU television report.
For organizers, the long-term goal is to spark an interest in
math, science and technology in young women - and show them some of
the opportunities available.
"Introduce girls to different careers, in this case, the
aerospace industry that are interesting and challenging and keep
them interested in math and science," said Roberta Degenhardt of
the Alaska Chapter of the 99's, "in an effort to give them more
opportunities for careers as they reach high school."
FAA statistics demonstrate the size of aviation's gender gap. Of
the more than 600,000 licensed pilots in the US, only 6 percent are
women. That gap widens with other careers, such as in mechanics,
where fewer than 2 percent are women.
According to the FAA's 2005 General Aviation Statistical
Databook, there were 37,243 female pilots in 2004, including
student; recreational; private, commercial and airline transport
pilots; and flight instructors. Non-pilot women accounted for
18,666, including mechanics, repairmen, parachute riggers, ground
instructors, dispatchers, flight navigators, and flight engineers.
Those numbers aren't much larger than the 1997, when women
accounted for 34,460 pilots and 14,562 in non-pilot
The gender gap among military pilots is even wider than in the
civilian population, with just 2.5 percent women.
For today's young women, however, the skies the limit.
"Almost anything you could think of there is an opportunity,
especially now with the space program, that you might be a
microbiologist or a horticulturalist or a doctor or a pilot and be
able to go into space," Degenhardt said. "We said just about the
only thing they don't have yet are real estate agents, but that'll
probably be coming soon."
And, lest we forget... for women in the lower 48 looking for
information on aerospace careers, the annual Women in Aviation
International (WAI) conference kicks off Wednesday in Orlando, FL.