Though female pilots have been flying since 1908, they were initially restricted to supporting roles or made to work privately in the aviation industry. Female pilots have played a significant role in the industry since the beginning of space, helicopter, and airplane travel, however now only 5% of the pilots in the world are women. India has more female pilots than any other country in the world, with 13% of the country's pilots being women. This means that there is approximately one female pilot for every 20 flights taken.
The Country With the Most Female Pilots
The G20 states named India as the worst place to be a woman in 2012 due to gender inequality within society. However, they are ahead when it comes to employing female pilots. India has more female pilots than all western states including the United States and the United Kingdom.
Air travel has been growing at a very high rate in India, and in the first six months of 2018, it increased by 22% which made it the fastest growing aviation industry globally. To match the growth experienced in the industry, many Indian carriers like IndiGo and SpiceJet have been employing pilots, particularly women. Although they already have 13% female pilots, SpiceJet still plans to increase the number of their women pilots in their flight crew to over 33% in the next three years.
The skies are more appealing to women in India especially since it is one of the few industries which offers a day-care service, safe working place, and union-mandated equal pay. The pilot’s salary is dictated by seniority, flying hours, and the union’s agreement. To attract more female flight crew, most airlines have dealt with the issue of safety. These airline companies are offering drop-off and pick-up services with accompanying armed guards to their female pilots.
Most young Indian women consider being a pilot as a rare chance of getting better pay and being highly valued in the society. The Bombay Flying club which trains commercial pilots has experienced an increase in female flying students. The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the number of female students in India has grown in the last five years from 10% to 25%.
The United States has over 4.4% female pilots with United Airlines having the highest number of female pilots (7.4%) while other airlines like Southwest (3.6%) pulls the average number of American female pilots down. Only 4.4% of the American Airline’s pilots are women. Lufthansa (7%) was second followed by the British Airways (5.9%). The United Kingdom reports a share of approximately 4.77% female pilots.