In an ambitious move to challenge long-standing gender norms in aviation, airline easyJet has introduced a Summer Flight School dedicated to children aged 7 to 12.
This unique initiative allows children to experience firsthand the life of a pilot and cabin crew, aiming to reshape outdated stereotypes that associate piloting with men and cabin crew roles with women.
A recent survey by easyJet unearthed that 37% of children believe piloting is solely a man’s job. Addressing these biases, the airline’s summer program offers children an opportunity to test their flying skills on an Airbus A320 simulator, interact with the airline’s crew, and learn about their journey into aviation.
The study, which included 2,000 British parents and children, revealed some disconcerting figures:
- 66% of parents still felt that piloting is predominantly a male profession.
- An alarming 86% acknowledged that gender job stereotypes take root during primary school years.
- 72% of female respondents recalled believing only men could be pilots during their childhood.
However, not all findings were gloomy. A positive change in perception was evident as 68% of young girls now believe both genders can be pilots. Yet, 28% of boys still believe cabin crew roles are exclusively for women.
easyJet, as a part of their commitment to enhance diversity in aviation, has been actively fighting the gender disparity, especially within the pilot community. Since 2015, the airline has almost tripled its female pilot count, even when global figures hover around a mere 6% for female pilots.
With over half the children never having seen a female pilot, easyJet’s initiative is not just about breaking stereotypes but also fostering new aspirations. Their recent Pilot School Visits across the UK, featuring male and female pilots, further highlight their dedication to this cause.
A significant number of parents (87%) expressed the challenge of finding affordable educational experiences for their children during holidays. The Summer Flight School, which combines learning with fun, perfectly fits the bill. A whopping 70% of primary school children ranked flying a plane as their top summer holiday experience, with 50% viewing piloting or being part of the cabin crew as their dream job.
Jane Storm, easyJet’s Chief People Officer, emphasized the company’s commitment to promoting diversity. She said, “We aim to show young people that their aspirations shouldn’t be restricted by antiquated stereotypes.”
Kate West, easyJet Training Captain, recounted her personal experience of being dissuaded from pursuing a pilot career due to her gender. She said, “Role models and awareness are paramount in reshaping these preconceived notions.”
The Summer Flight School, hosted at easyJet’s London Gatwick training centre, commences on 21st August. Parents can reserve free spots for their children starting 7th August at https://easyjet.eventbrite.com.