The participation of women in the aviation industry has been an ongoing topic of discussion for years. According to the latest global survey conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the status of licensed aviation personnel by gender, the participation of women in aviation has seen a slight increase globally. Women pilots, air traffic controllers, and maintenance technicians have seen an overall increase from 4.5% globally in 2016 to 4.9% in 2021.
The survey revealed that Africa has the highest percentage of women pilots, at 5.2%. This is a significant increase from 4.1% in 2016. Globally, the percentage of women pilots has increased from 3.6% to 4.0%, with the highest increases being observed in the Asia Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean regions. North America scored the highest increase globally with 4.6% women pilots, followed by Africa and Europe with 4.1% and 4.0%, respectively.
Women are not equally poorly represented in all more technical professions in aviation. In air traffic control, the proportion of women is around 21 percent, with Latin America having by far the most female air traffic controllers at 34.5 percent followed by Europe at 22 percent. North America has a relatively low percentage of women, at 18 percent while in Africa, the share is 15 percent. Middle East recorded the least representation of women air traffic controllers at 7 percent.
The proportion of female employees in aircraft maintenance, on the other hand, is only 3.0 percent worldwide. Although there have been increases in all regions except the Middle East and Africa, the Asia Pacific region has the highest global percentage of licensed female aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians with 4.4%.
ICAO has published new analytical dashboards on the participation of licensed female aviation personnel in the workforce, and its expected that countries access to and awareness of the new data will lead to better informed targets and policy making to help reduce the still significant aviation gender gap.