Women Account For 12 Percent Of New Canadian Pilots


A total of 12% of new pilot licenses issued in Canada in 2023 went to women, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide (IWOAW). The Montreal-based organization said 13% of new recreational-oriented licenses, 12.3% of commercial tickets and 8.1% of airline transport permits went to women. Women have historically represented about 6% to 7% of pilots, but groups including IWOAW have been active in the last decade promoting aviation as a career for women and the needle is starting to move, the organization noted.

IWOAW is making preparations for its annual campaign to introduce women and girls to aviation. This is the 15th anniversary of the Fly It Forward Challenge in which pilots donate their time and aircraft to give free flights to girls and women who have never flown in a small aircraft. There are also information booths with female role models at many of the events. The organization said that it has flown 22,403 Canadian females in the last 15 years and “the tangible impact of the initiative is uplifting.” This year’s events are planned for March 4-10.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


    • Without context, it’s mealiness.
      If overall new pilots have dropped 25% then gender is irrelevant.
      When private flying is too expensive and onerous, what good are “new pilots” who will not be able to stay in it?

      • Overall, the number of Canadian licenses issued grew by 12% during that time period. Without women improved representation, the growth would be only 8%.

        The potential for overall growth is always greater when the “market” is wider. Ignoring half of the population for over a century has stifled the industry’s expansion.

        • Thanks for the info! Good to know.
          No one is “ignoring” men or women (at least no one that I’ve met at flying fields in the last 40 years). My thought on expansion is making it cheaper and easier for ALL.

  1. Flash: Women account for 100% of new Canadian mothers.

    What we need are passionate, skilled pilots, not hyphenated pilots.

  2. What a fantastic trend, and proof that diversity initiatives work. My wife finally got her license last year as well, after years of hearing, “flying requires more strength than women have”, “women break down when things get tough”, and virtually never seeing another woman pilot. Her Pilot Examiner still launched into a long winded “which would you rather f**k, a blonde or a redhead” during her checkride oral in a question ask about wind correction.

    I’m always shocked people like that still exist, then I read the comments on Avweb…

  3. As an instructor I would rather have a woman student over a man. Women work harder, pay attention and listen, leave their ego at home and self select for aptitude.

    By self selecting for aptitude, I mean the ones who are not serious never start, something that unfortunately is not true for men, especially the sons of airline pilots.

  4. As the father of three daughters (no sons, O, well) I think that is far too few. When we lived in Anchorage we flew a Maule floatplane to remote lakes. My wife had little interest in piloting but decided that we need a second pilot because if the single pilot became ill/injured the others would be stuck because we were out of radio range and ELT’s were new and unreliable, but even now… The North ain’t like Peoria of course but it still makes sense to me.

    If you are like me and want everyone to learn to fly but want the whole atmosphere to yourself, north of Anchorage is great and north of Fairbanks is greater yet, until…