top of page

4.6% and Climbing: The Slow Rise of Women in Aviation

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams," said Amelia Earhart. Yet, for many women, the path to a career in aviation is strewn with barriers. 


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) launched the 25by2025 initiative in 2019, aiming to increase female representation in senior aviation roles and in areas where women were traditionally underrepresented by up to a quarter by 2025. Over the last few years, this initiative has opened doors and mentorships that women could benefit from in this otherwise male-dominated industry.  


ICAO's global survey in 2021 revealed a promising trend, with the participation of women in key aviation roles increasing to 4.9 percent globally. The percentage of women pilots in service saw a significant rise to 4.0 percent globally, with the highest increase observed in the Asia Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean regions. North America scored highest globally with 4.6 percent women pilots, followed by Africa and Europe with 4.1 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.  


Women in Aviation International statistics provide further insights on the matter. Only 4.6% of Airline Transport Pilot certificates are held by women, and in roles such as Flight Instructors, women account for 7.3%, and in roles such as Remote Pilots, they represent 7.2% of the workforce. 

These figures highlight the underrepresentation of women in aviation, the significant room for growth, and the potential benefits of boosting diversity within the industry.  


While most experts call this gender disparity a pipeline problem, there are serious underlying issues that women face before they enter into aviation and also as part of the workforce. Gender-unique social pressures, double standards and systemic barriers often deter them from staying on their career path. 


Underrepresentation: Low representation and need for mentorship by women in senior leadership, piloting, and technical roles. 

Cultural and Systemic Barriers: Gender stereotypes, biases, and need for role models. 

Work-Life Balance: Gender-unique challenges like maternity leave and childcare responsibilities. 

Safety and Harassment: Workplace safety issues and sexual harassment. 


Organisations like Women in Aviation International (WAI) and Wings for Women are crucial in supporting and ensuring individual stories are heard. These organisations also provide resources, including scholarships, mentorship, and education prospects, breaking barriers and creating opportunities for women seeking their place in the industry.  


The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India has also issued an advisory to stakeholders to increase the participation of women in the aviation workforce to 25% by 2025. 


The industry estimates an average of 5-14% presence of women workers across various roles in India's aviation sector, with the highest representation in the pilot category at 14%. In 2023, 1622 CPLs were issued in India, of which 294, or nearly a fifth, were issued to women, also 22% higher than 240 CPLs in 2022. 


"The stakeholders are advised to promote enhanced representation of women in the aviation workforce, introduce leadership and mentorship programs for women in the organisation, address the issue of stereotypes and gender bias and promote a better work- life balance for women employees," DGCA director general Vikram Dev Dutt said in a statement. 


Brookfield Aviation International believes that a cultural shift in the workplace is still needed, and women must be supported through mentorship programmes and advocacy for gender-equal policies that improve recruitment pipelines and the industry's retention rate.   


By utilising the entire talent pool, encouraging diversity of thought, and pushing innovation, the industry can unlock its full potential and inspire a new generation of aviation professionals. 


Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page