6 Badass Female Pilots Following Their Dreams & Breaking Boundaries
“Sometimes you gotta create what you wanna be a part of."
Statistically, men dominate the skies. Globally, 93% of commercial pilots are male. Nowhere in the world do women account for even one-quarter of people who make a living as a pilot.
In Finland, 12% of women are pilots. In the US, women make up 5.12% of commercial pilots and in Brazil only 2% of pilots are women, according to the Airman Database, data collected by the US Federal Aviation Administration.
But with social media, female pilots are gaining greater recognition for pursuing careers in the male-dominated arena, according to Business Insider.
Here are six female pilots who are paving the way for a future where women are equally represented among all professions.
1. Eser Askran Erdogan, @EchoSierra85
Erdogan has been a pilot with Pegasus Airlines for over three years and flies a Boeing 737. She is Dutch and Turkish, and was raised in the Netherlands, according to Mirror UK. When she’s not 40,000 feet above earth, she lives in Istanbul, Turkey.
“I had a nine to five job once and I hated my life, after a year of misery I quit my job and changed my life, it was the best decision I made!” Erdogan said. “Don't be afraid of change, don't be afraid to take risks and don't be afraid to believe in yourself!”
This female pilot flies one of the 1,300 Airbus 330A jet airliners in the world. She works for China Tibet Airlines, according to her Instagram account. She flies internationally out of China, and has no trouble handling full flights during thunderstorms, according to her Instagram account.
3. Jaswinder Kaur, @Jassigr8
“In the era when Internet and Google were not available at the tip of our thumbs, to know ‘how to be a pilot’ seemed like a distant fairytale,” Kaur told She the People publication in an interview.
Kaur grew up in a small town in India and always dreamed of flying. A chance encounter between a pilot and her father gave her the opportunity to pursue an education and career as a pilot, she said.
Now she’s inspiring others girls to do the same. On a recent flight from Zoya to Jodhpur Kaur met a young girl who aspires to be a pilot.
“I gave her simple rules to eat her veggies and drink milk and study hard, not just once, twice she told me that she will remember it whatever I have told her,” Kaur said.
Kaur also believes more women are becoming pilots despite contrary statistics.
“Being a pilot at one point was considered to be a male-dominated profession and cabin crew a female-dominated zone, but the role has reversed specially in India more and more women are choosing flying as a pilot than as a cabin crew as their career choice,” she said.
Female pilot “Gizzy” puts safety first when taking selfies in the cockpit of the Boeing 738 jet that she commands. Her Instagram account says that all her pictures are taken, “cruise or on the ground safely, in a sterile cockpit environment.”
She also has some advice for other women who want to break barriers and enter male-dominated fields.
“Sometimes you gotta create what you wanna be a part of,” she said.
5. Lea Yosalina, @LeaYosalina
“People still get surprised that I can be a woman and a pilot at the same time,” Yosalina said. “I’ve always thought that gender is not an issue and I've never questioned the possibility of working in jobs usually associated with men, but I guess people do find it cool that I exist in a male-dominated world.”
6. Emi Inciong-Ragasa, Captain for Phillipines Airlines
Emi Inciong-Ragasa doesn’t have an Instagram account, but she has been a Captain, the highest ranking commercial pilot position, with Philippines Airlines for six years. Previously, she taught others how to fly at the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics in Oakland, California.
“I am grateful to be given the opportunity to work in an industry where there are not a lot of women. I feel that I have a responsibility to contest the common misconception that aviation is a man's world by continuously learning and proving my worth,” Inciong-Ragasa said.
Inciong-Ragasa also said the she enjoys being a pilot because it gives her freedom to experience other cultures. She recommends being, “conscientious, assertive, decisive, and eager to learn,” for anyone who wants to become a pilot, she told Town and Country.