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.”