March 21, 2022

The Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB), chaired by former U.S. Air Force Secretary Dr. Heather Wilson, has submitted a recommendations report to the FAA on ways to attract and retain more women in the aviation industry.

“According to the WIAAB’s research, women make up less than 20% of the workforce in most aviation occupations, with roughly 5% being professional pilots and 3% of A&P technicians,” said Kriya Shortt, senior vice president global parts distribution at Textron Aviation, WIAAB board member and NBAA Advisory Council member.

“Sadly, these metrics have not changed materially over the past 60 years,” she said. “Not only will increased focus on recruiting women to aviation careers help the ever-widening workforce gap, but numerous studies show a diverse workforce is a more successful workforce.”

The WIAAB was established on Oct. 3, 2019, under the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, to identify strategies for the FAA, in coordination with industry organizations and programs, to encourage female students and aviators to pursue a career in aviation. Its charter was subsequently renewed for another two years. The WIAAB is comprised of 30 experts with diverse backgrounds in aviation, including representatives from aircraft manufacturers, military, business aviation and airline operators and more.

The WIAAB’s report, which was presented via video meeting, includes 55 unanimously approved recommendations to Congress, the Department of Transportation, the FAA and industry, including companies, non-profits, trade associations and labor unions. These recommendations are grouped in five areas:

  • Culture
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Advancement
  • Data

The recommendations will be available on the FAA’s website by the end of the month, but in the meantime this report done in collaboration with Women in Aviation International is available for review: Women in Aviation: A Workforce Report.

“The Women in Aviation Advisory Board’s efforts highlight the work yet to be done to bring girls and women into aviation careers,” said Jo Damato, CAM, NBAA’s senior vice president of education, training and workforce development. “Although the board’s initial charter is complete, one recommendation to Congress and the FAA is to ensure this board or a similar group continues this important work by collecting and analyzing data and supporting the FAA and other organizations as they implement the board’s recommendations.”