D I V E R S I T Y
“While the zeitgeist of
this century is female
empowerment, not everyone
has gotten the memo yet”
Pilot, founder and president
of Aviation for Humanity
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How and why did you get into
My first business aviation job was
on a Learjet 60 based in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia. I flew all around
Southeast Asia on a year contract
before returning to the USA. I was
totally hooked on business aviation.
I loved the complexity of the trips,
organizing and managing the details of
the flights, and seeing remote regions
of the world. That was ten years ago,
and while I’ve changed jobs and
jets a couple of times, I’ve never left
How can we encourage more
women into business aviation?
We need systemic change.
Professionals are swapping out their
seats in corporate jets for seats in
airliners. As a working parent, two
quality-of-life benefits immediately
come to mind why this is the case,
schedule predictability and options for
Airlines offer workload variations
that crewmembers can bid on. If
someone wanted to work more, there
are options to bid a schedule with a
high utilization. The same applies if
someone wanted a reduced number
of days away. Business aviation could
adopt a similar structure and pay
could reflect utilization so its equitable.
I know plenty of working caregivers
that would value such an option.
Is there equal pay and treatment
for women in the sector?
When it comes to equal pay and
treatment for women, I think the
whole nation has a lot of room for
improvement. It’s 2020, and I want to
believe that pilots in business aviation
are paid based on their experience
and skill rather than their gender.
I have two young daughters at
home. I am frequently reminded that
my role ought to be as the primary
caregiver, not the primary breadwinner.
I often get asked how I can be a Mom
and a pilot, while my husband, who is
also a pilot, has never been asked.
Yes, being a Mom is important,
but so is being a Dad. It is unfair to
our partners to assume one parental
figure is more valuable than the other.
This is a societal problem. In many
cases, there is a socially-constructed
expectation put on working mothers to
remain the primary caregiver. We can
battle this inequity by challenging our
unconscious bias and for companies
to establish stronger caregiver benefits
as part of their employment package.
If we want to make the flight deck
door more accessible to the next
generation, then it’s time to restructure
the industry in a more egalitarian way.
What advice would you give to
women interested in a business
Get ready to work twice as hard
for half the credit — at least for
now, anyway. The majority of wellintentioned
individuals are working
on improving this situation. Whether
you’re mentoring young women,
modelling egalitarian behavior, or
simply reading and sharing articles
like this one, we’re collectively trying to
level the playing field.
While the zeitgeist of this century
is female empowerment, not everyone
has gotten the memo yet. I recommend
you find your allies, be kind, work hard,
become a subject matter expert and
don’t sweat the small stuff.