As you know, I'm currently partnered with another female pilot at work, and whether it's just a statistical clustering or a tipping point reached, I'm meeting women everywhere in aviation these days. Every crew I've met lately has been one guy and one woman. Every shop I've had an airplane in has had a female apprentice on the floor. And on the radio I don't even know whether there are more male or more female air traffic controllers. It's not that I'm snobby and don't like men, but having someone of your own gender in the hangar is like being on the road and meeting someone from your hometown. It's a refreshing thing to have more of us around.
At the airport where we're basing this week a crew drive up in a city truck. It's a one guy and one woman. I ask them if they know anything about how much avgas is in the tank, but they say they are just there to cut the grass. It's a small enough town that they know whom I should talk to about the fuel supply here. I should feel a little bit silly that in asking for that contact I referred to the unknown person as "he" but it's a woman's name I'm given to contact. Now who is making incorrect assumptions about who will be dealing with avgas and machinery?
Ever had someone say, "oh I worked with a guy with green eyes at another company. He was ..."? It really doesn't matter how that ends. No one would ever say it because it makes no sense to classify people's piloting skills based on eye colour. I don't think people make blanket statements about women teachers or women real estate agents or women grocery store clerks, because there are so many women doing those jobs they know that some are caring, some are pushy, some are lazy, some are brilliant, some are disorganized and so on. It's perfectly natural for people to notice things or people who are different and to classify similar ones together, so I can't even call someone who puts the two female copilots he's ever had in the same box. I'm just happy that the box is getting bigger so that we can now excel or suck on our own merits and not on behalf of all womankind.
In this blog entry, and the preceding one, Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes comments on the women working as pilots, engineers and management at Air Asia. It looks like they're just starting out there, being called "the rose among the thorns" so each of those ladies is still carrying the flag for her gender in every thing she does right or wrong. You go girls. And boys.
Those humans, they really know how to fix/fly a plane, don't they?