More than 250 NZALPA members will soon have more access to support through the Women’s Assistance Forum, which will offer peer-to-peer support for women working as pilots and air traffic controllers.
“Woman-to-woman peer support is currently available, but the Forum looks to put more of a framework around the support the volunteers offer and the issues they cover,” NZALPA Medical and Welfare Director Andy Pender says.
At time of writing, the women’s assistance coordinators, Janet Taylor and Angela Cronin, were preparing for a training event for peer support volunteers (PSVs) and women’s assistance volunteers (WAVs), who will provide support and advice for their female colleagues.
The volunteers who responded with interest will be attending a training event that will focus on a number of general topics of interest as well as issues that are specific to the needs and requirements of women aviation professionals.
Discussion points will include comparisons of parental leave policies and how to manage it; pregnancy/breastfeeding and flying; the work/life balance and handling work pressure; childcare issues; post-partum depression; sexism in the workplace; and mental health and wellness, including depression, anxiety and issues of confidence.
Another support tool is the women’s assistance contact line. This is intended to help remove any real or perceived barriers to seek assistance directly from those who have valuable wisdom to share.
“While the Women’s Assistance Forum will cover wider issues than only those surrounding mental wellness, we know that these issues can impact significantly on an individual’s wellbeing if managed poorly,” Pender says.
“By connecting women pilots and air traffic controllers with their peers, we’re hoping to encourage the essential and relevant conversations to be started,” Pender says.