In spite of the fact that women have been flying for nearly as long as there have been airplanes to fly, the number of active female pilots remains around six percent of the pilot community. And it’s not just the flying jobs—other aviation-oriented careers show similarly uneven numbers. The recently proposed Promoting Women in the Aviation Workforce Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), is working to change that.
The bill’s stated goal is to “express the sense of Congress that the aviation industry should explore all opportunities to encourage and support women to pursue a career in aviation.” If passed, it will include directing the creation of a Women in Aviation Advisory Board, which will be tasked with promoting “organizations and programs that provide education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women in the aviation industry.” In addition, the FAA would be directed to “submit a report to Congress on common trends that discourage women from pursuing aviation careers; expanding existing scholarship opportunities for women in aviation; and coordinating professional training and recruitment programs.”
Companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Mimi Walters (R-CA).