Survey: Why Aren’t More Women In Aviation?


A two-year study has identified barriers that stop women from learning to fly and produced suggestions to increase the number of female pilots. The study was performed by Penny Hamilton, Ph.D., and included 296 surveys or personal interviews of women pilots and student pilots, females who did not complete their flight training, and instructors of both genders. Dr. Hamilton used her research to produce a list of the top 10 barriers that stop women from flying and the top 10 ways to increase female success in general aviation. Topping the list of deterrents was one that anecdotally appears universal — a lack of money for flight training. Dr. Hamilton addressed gender specific-recommendations to counter “instructor-student communication incompatibility (Mars vs. Venus),” a lack of readily available female mentors, certain perceived gaps in experience and skill sets and more.

Dr. Hamilton cited “lack of experience with and knowledge of mechanical systems” and “lack of map reading experience & orienteering skill sets” as barriers. She suggests developing more flexible and individualized flight training processes that respect different learning styles and the use of outside resources to bolster certain skills particular to flying. For example, if map reading and orienteering is deficient, Dr. Hamilton suggests that certain outside and no-cost methods be employed, like the use of the geography and map reading websites and Find details of the study and Dr. Hamilton’s work online here.