NZALPA Women’s Assistance Forum Coordinators Angela Cronin (Captain, Air Nelson) and Janet Taylor (air
traffic controller, Christchurch Tower) attended IFALPA’s first Female Pilots Working Group (FPWG). This is
Angela’s update on the event.
“This is a call to action!” These were
the words of IFALPA’s Senior Technical
Officer Carole Couchman when
addressing members of the first ever
Female Pilots Working Group (FPWG).
This historic meeting was hosted by
the Austrian Cockpit Association in
Vienna from 14-15 October 2019 and
was attended by 40 female pilots from
20 different countries. Janet Taylor
and I had the privilege of attending as
Coordinators of NZALPA’s Women’s
One of the goals for the meeting
was to draft a first Position Paper
providing a high-level overview
of what was necessary to attract,
select and retain women in aviation.
Currently only five per cent of airline
pilots internationally are women.
The Position Paper will be used to
encourage all member associations
to take action and ensure their
female pilots are represented at
all levels within the association, on
their boards, and in their various
It was recognised that another paper
should be developed, providing
practical suggestions on establishing
diversity programmes and structures
to redress the balance and provide
opportunity for their female members.
It was noted that it is important for
female pilots to be on the governing
bodies, negotiations committees or
works councils as well as the safety
and technical committees.
The meeting was a great opportunity
for female pilots to sit together,
share experiences and learn from
each other. The range of experience
and cultures made for fascinating
discussions and for many this was the
first time they had been with so many
female pilots in the same room.
Janet and I felt many of the areas
of concern for other member
associations were already being
addressed here at NZALPA, including
the establishment of a Women’s
Assistance Forum. However, with a
low number of women pilots in our
Association, and a predicted pilot
shortage in the future we know there
is much more to be done. We hope to
continue our association with IFALPA’s
FPWG as it has provided a platform
for motivated women from all over
the world to seek solutions on gender
imbalance in the airlines.
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