More than half the nation’s workforce is female, but only six percent of pilots are women. Legislation introduced in the Senate seeks to improve on those numbers by encouraging the aviation industry to help women pursue aviation careers.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is among many veterans who have pursued training in general aviation after leaving the military. Photo by Chris Rose.
The bipartisan bill, titled the Promoting Women in the Aviation Workforce Act of 2017, is sponsored by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
It would “express the sense of Congress that the aviation industry should explore all opportunities to encourage and support women to pursue a career in aviation.”
Other provisions include directing the FAA to establish a Women in Aviation Advisory Board “to promote organizations and programs that provide education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women in the aviation industry,” directing the FAA to report to Congress on trends that discourage women from pursuing aviation careers; expanding existing scholarship opportunities for women in aviation; and coordinating professional training and recruitment programs, according to a news release announcing the measure.
“Our bipartisan legislation encourages the aviation industry to offer opportunities, such as pilot training, STEM education, and mentorship programs that would help women to pursue and succeed in aviation-related careers. Senator Duckworth and I urge our colleagues to join this effort to improve and increase the educational opportunities for women in aviation,” Collins said.
In a statement, Women in Aviation International President Dr. Peggy Chabrian noted that the bill cites WAI’s Girls in Aviation Day “as a program that helps ‘young women be introduced to the different opportunities that are open to women in the aviation and aerospace industry.’”
She also noted the recent passage by the House of Representatives of the Women in Aerospace Education Act, which was “designed to engage girls at a young age” to set their sights on fields with low participation by women.
By Dan Namowitz