India Has the Highest Ratio of Female Pilots in the World

Sep 5, 2018

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Are you a woman who wants to fly planes? You might want to consider moving to India.

India has the highest percentage of commercial female pilots in the world, according to Reuters. About 12% of the nation’s commercial pilots are women.

That ratio is double the US percentage of women pilots, who comprise roughly 6% of all commercial pilots in America according to the FAA in December 2017. And less than 5% of pilots worldwide are women, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.

Women pilots in India have benefits that aren’t guaranteed for female workers in other sectors of the country like equal pay (mandated by unions) and day care services, Reuters reports. There are also additional precautions to guarantee women pilots a safe workplace in India. The airlines offer their women employees a car service and an armed guard to escort them between 6:00pm and 6:00am.

“It is the safest job,” Indian pilot Shweta Singh, who was among the first female pilots in the nation 20 years ago, told Reuters. “Women are more protected here than in any other place.”

About 13% of pilots for India’s Indigo Airline are women, and 12% of pilots at SpiceJet are women. The highest percentage of women pilots at an airline based in a Western country is United with 7.4% of pilots being female, according to Statista.

Graphic by Statista.
Graphic by Statista.

Women in aviation around the globe have struggled with securing equal pay and other issues like sexual harassment. Ryanair, for instance, was exposed in April as the airline with the most discrepancy in its pay between men and women, with the average male employee averaging a whopping 72% per hour more than their female counterparts.  And easyJet’s new CEO, Johan Lundgren, took a 5% pay cut in January 2018 in order to match the salary of his female predecessor, Carolyn McCall.

With a looming pilot shortage bearing down on the aviation sector worldwide, airlines are looking to increase the amount of women in the cockpit. But some airlines have a long way to go in changing their mentalities toward women pilots. Just last month, for instance, UK airline TUI was handing out stickers to children passengers. The crew handed out “Future TUI Captain” stickers to boys and “Future TUI Cabin Crew” to girls.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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