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Women Pilots Face Sexism in the Cockpit: “I Was Asked If I Needed Help Reversing the Plane!”

Women Pilots Face Sexism in the Cockpit: “I Was Asked If I Needed Help Reversing the Plane!”
Jennifer Billock

For this year’s International Women’s Day, women around the world unveiled the ridiculous things men have said to them to insinuate they didn’t belong in “a man’s world.” Female pilots face this problem all the time—including women flying for British Airways, who share their own stories of industry sexism.

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate all the amazing women in the world. But it’s also a day for women to stand up and be heard about all the prejudice they’ve faced as part of a (still) surprisingly sexist population.

British Airways pilots are no exception to this. Recently, a group of women pilots shared the ridiculous things they’ve been told that insinuated they shouldn’t be flying planes—because it’s “a man’s world.”

“We’ve been asked by a group of passengers if we’d like any help reversing the plane,” senior first officer Jess Anand, who works out of Heathrow, told The Daily Mail. “On another occasion, a man informed us that he had a private flying license and offered us his assistance if we needed it—it was safe to say that we didn’t take him up on his offer!”

For its part, British Airways has more female pilots than any other airline in the United Kingdom—though that’s only just more than 6 percent of the pilots. Active recruitment is underway to find and hire more women to come work for the airline.

“Flying isn’t about bravado or wrestling a heavy machine through the sky,” Anand said. “Women shouldn’t change their image or behavior to fit into a ‘man’s world.’ You can be female and proud and you can still be a pilot like I am.”

[Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (4)


  1. alphaod

    March 13, 2019 at 8:23 am

    There are always people in the world looking to put down others. The best way is to ignore them.


    March 13, 2019 at 8:50 am

    That’s hilarious! It’s not sexist at all. Everyone knows that reversing is more challenging. Has this pilot actually done any research to see if any male pilots have had the same said to them?

  3. Tom Mccall

    March 13, 2019 at 8:58 am

    A man seats down in his first class seat and hears the pilot come on ” hello this your pilot Susan Smith and with me is my co pilot Betty Allen, your Cursor is Alice James, Welcome on board” The man asks the flight attendant did i hear that right the pilot and co pilot are both woman? She replies that’s right sir, the whole crew are woman, and by the way they are no longer calling it the cock pit up there….

  4. drphun

    March 15, 2019 at 6:04 am

    Yes, there are lots of people who think they are clever and try to make jokes. Why is it automatically sexist if the target is a woman? It is just a dumb joke.

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