“Women can be pilots too!” says travel firm using stereotypes to make headlines
Majority ‘don’t trust’ female pilots
Female pilots are less trusted than their male counterparts, a new survey has suggested.
Around 51 per cent of those questioned by Sunshine.co.uk, the online travel agent, said they were less likely to trust a female pilot, while just 14 per cent said they would feel safer with a woman at the control of an aircraft. A quarter said the sex of their pilot did not matter. Nine per cent said they were “unsure”.
Of those who said they would rather have a male pilot, 32 per cent said they believed “male pilots are more skilled”, while 28 per cent questioned the ability of female pilots to handle pressure.
Source: Telegraph, 4th November 2013
While stereotypes and prejudices doubtlessly still abound, it’s worth highlighting that this isn’t an article aimed at emphasising the suitability of women for a role as airline pilot – it’s merely an opportunity generated by a travel agent to have their spokesperson parroted in the press explaining how excellent and progressive they are as a company:
“To see that more than half would be less likely to trust a female pilot was absolutely astounding,” said Chris Clarkson, managing director of Sunshine.co.uk. “Clearly, many Britons have stereotypes that they need to get rid of.”
“If pilots become fully qualified and are given their licence, they are perfectly capable of flying a plane and getting you to your destination safely, regardless of whether they are male or female,” he added.
Chris is absolutely correct, of course – however, without seeing the questions asked in the online survey, and the associated population sampling, it’s impossible to tell whether Chris’s company is actually outing a deeply-held sexist belief, or merely spuriously generating shocking headlines to kick against in order to secure a mention in the press.
I know where my suspicion lies.