Fight For Flight

While women across all fields have fought for decades for equal opportunities, there is a surprising under-representation of women in aviation. To find out more, Hannah Dowling sat down with industry workers and academics to brainstorm a solution

Since as early as the 1920s, women and men alike turned their eyes to the skies, and dreamed of flight. Despite challenges and hostility, women of means flocked to obtain licences in surprising numbers. Australia’s first qualified female pilot, Millicent Bryant, received her pilot’s licence in 1927. And yet, we wouldn’t see a female airline pilot in this country until over 50 years later. Since then, women have had to fight hard for their rights to fly. 

While we’ve definitely made some headway in the last 100 years, women make up around 10 per cent of the Australian pilot community, and 15 per cent of RAAF staff. There are just 38 female pilots in the RAAF, representing just 5 per cent of the 752 pilots in the air force. And a mere 2 per cent of Australia’s aeronautical engineers are women. 

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