Women in aircraft maintenance

Last updated on February 24, 2021

In 2021 the society has made a lot of progress in many fields but women's involvement in technical fields is still at a really low level. The latest researches about gender in technical fields are showing us that the number of women in the field is only a bit less than 20%. But if we go further deep in the research, their presence in aircraft maintenance is less than 5%. After more than a century of aviation, we are still looking at a really low involvement of the female gender.

As rarely known, women were present in this field from the very beginning. Lillian Todd was the first female aircraft designer back in 1906, only 3 years after the Wright brothers, who invented the first successful aircraft. Amelia Earhart was known as a pilot but she was also an advisor to aeronautical engineering. And, in WW2 Queen Elizabeth II was an aircraft mechanic. All of them have proven that a female can be an aircraft maintenance technician. Therefore, what is the problem nowadays?

How low is the involvement of women in aviation today?

As the USA is the first country to notice this problem, they were the first to start solving it. In 2020, due to FAA demographic report, there were 215,905 non-pilot female certificate holders and only 7,573 were aircraft maintenance technicians. That means that only around 3.5% of them are aircraft mechanics. But if we take a look at the number of 301,087 aircraft maintenance technicians in the USA, that tells us that only 2.5% of all aircraft mechanics are actually female. But in the end, if we take a look that only 5 years ago there were 8,419 women working as aircraft maintenance technicians, it means that situation is only getting worst.
We should also consider that the USA is the country with the highest involvement of women in this field and that the situation in the rest of the world is even worst. In many countries, these numbers are going even lower than 1%.
Since the industry has got large growth in the past decade we are wondering why are these numbers so low.

Women in aviation - Facts

How can we encourage the growth of women's presence in the field?

At this moment we have to be aware that women should be a part of the maintenance staff as well and that it is our job to encourage them to join us. At this moment we have a huge interest of women population in aviation on positions like pilots and stewardesses. But we are lacking their support in areas like maintenance. Some researches have shown us that many of them don't even know what the job is about and what are the main advantages of it. Therefore we explained to them briefly what is it about and 56% of them said they would consider it as a career option. That tells us that if they were informed properly we could have a lot higher interest in women joining our industry. Likely, there is this wonderful community Association of Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM) who is supporting all of the female presence in the aircraft maintenance industry in all possible ways. They have set all the primary goals for solving this issue. Educating the young people about this industry, helping students with their scholarships, helping newcomers find jobs and increasing awareness of companies, and most importantly, support all of the women that are already working in the aircraft maintenance industry.

And that is the right way to encourage women for choosing an aircraft mechanic career. It's our job to show them support and appreciation.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of a career in aircraft maintenance?

Some would say that a job of an aircraft mechanic is a heavy job, but nowadays, that is not a situation. Technology has given so much to aviation and made tools much easier for operating that almost nothing requires high strength efforts. One of the highest disadvantages in this career is that aviation is never sleeping and aircraft mechanics have to cover all 24 hours of the day so they work both, day and night shifts. Apart from that, there are not any big disadvantages. Even it is a "dirty" job, our research found out that women don't have a problem with that and don't take it as a bad part.

When it comes to benefits, there is more than meets the eye. First of them would be the really high salary in the industry is around 75.000$ a year and that is almost double the overall average salary in the USA. A second-place would definitely come with high career possibilities. There are so many different paths in aircraft maintenance and so many ways to improve and get a better position and highest salary. The third would be the nature of the job. Working in aviation is a special thing and aircraft mechanics are in the elite places of this industry. Everyone loves to meet the aircraft mechanics and they are always overwhelmed about that. The job itself is great. It is highly dynamic, and you will be learning new things all the time. Most experienced mechanics will tell you that the more you learn about aircraft more those become interesting to you. Some surveys have shown that 77% of aircraft mechanics really love their job and that they are happy with their career. In the end, one of the major advantages is the high growth trend that aviation has. The unemployment level is around 4% and is getting lower every year.

Testimonials

We contacted some women representatives in this industry and asked them about their experience. They were very nice and supportive so check out their testimonials.

Joséphine Van De Voorde

  • Age: 28
  • Country: France
  • Workplace: iGO Solutions
  • Expirience: 8 years

How did you decide to start your career in aircraft maintenance?

I always knew I couldn't work in an office spending 8 hours in front of a computer, I needed to move, to do something with my hands, so mechanic appears like a good job, the pleasure of fixing problems, the pleasure of going from something not working to something which works because of you! And why in aviation? Well, I don't do anything like the others so, I wanted a badass job, and what's more badass than some big heavy "stack of metal" capable of flying through the Sky?

How do you see it now?

Now I'm really happy to do this work, there are always things to learn, you constantly have to update yourself, and each day is different from the other. Also, there's a lot of different type of aircraft, so you really have the choice to decide.

What are your goals in future as aircraft mechanic?

My goals for the future are to work outside of France, discover new countries thanks to my job. Also this year I'm gonna practice to become B1.3 to learn about helicopters. Then I'll have the choice to work almost wherever I want. If you are recruiting in Finland I would be really interested (ahahahaha).

Message to women who are thinking of taking this path?

My message to women who are thinking about taking this path is: Follow your dreams! Yes it's a "men's" world, but all you need is self-confidence, and they will understand that you're just like them.

Ana García

How did you decide to start your career in aircraft maintenance?

When i was in military highschool the last two years it was required to choose one of the four school technic courses ( nursing, accounting, computer science and Aircraft Maintenance Technician ) I choosed AMT - Basic Theories. It was not what I spected and I said: — !this is not what I want! . A few months later after graduation, my first job changed my mind. Working on an International Airport as an Auxiliar of Maintenance Technician. It's totally diferent than be on an hangar with small, old and abandoned planes. The experience is AMAZING I'm in love with the area Im at right now. It has those big airplanes which I really love.When I was in military high school the last two years I was required to choose one of the four school technic courses ( nursing, accounting, computer science, and Aircraft Maintenance Technician ) I chose AMT - Basic Theories. It was not what I expected and I said: —! This is not what I want! A few months later after graduation, my first job changed my mind. Working on an International Airport as an Auxiliar of Maintenance Technician. It's totally different than being in a hangar with small, old, and abandoned planes. The experience is AMAZING I'm in love with the area I'm in right now. It has those big airplanes which I really love.

How do you see it now?

The exact phrase which defines how I feel seeing this every day is "I am nothing Without this". I can't imagine being a Nurse, a Lawyer, or a Police. This became part of my life.

What are your goals in future as aircraft mechanic?

Use my aircraft tools as much as I can. Being a good engineer and learn as much as I can. Develop the ability to create, repair and correct and always make it perfect every day.

Message to women who are thinking of taking this path?

Try and if you like it ... make it part of you. It is a WONDERFUL experience, find out for yourself and you won't regret it. Get as much knowledge as you can.

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