Who Cares About Gender "Inequality" Among Airline Pilots (Or Anyone Else)?

Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 sits on the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport April 17, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pa. The aircraft had to make an emergency landing en route from LaGuardia to Dallas. (AP Photo/Corey Perrine)

Amelia Earhart, famous, skilled PILOT.

On April 17th, after Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 experienced engine failure not long after takeoff, pilot Tammie Jo Shults safely guided the plane to an emergency landing in Philadelphia.


Unfortunately, debris from the failed engine struck a window causing rapid decompression. Passenger Jennifer Riordan was partially pulled out of said window by the force, and later passed away as a result of severe trauma to her head, neck, and torso.

The tragedy could have been much worse if not for the skilled maneuvering of Captain Shults who saved the lives of 143 passengers and 3 crew members that day. It’s easy to think of flying as routine, but the experienced men and women at the helm are prepared for the worst. We owe them much as they safely take us from one destination to the next.

Most anyone would look at the incident with an appreciation for what Shults did with no regard for the fact that she is female. In January 2009, Captain Chesley Sullenberger – a male – landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the freezing Hudson River, after geese struck both engines and disabled the plane. His expertise, not his gender, was praised. He had saved the lives of all on board.

When skilled men and women, whatever their profession, become examples of bravery and focus, they should be commended. Their biological makeup is of no consequence. But that doesn’t stop some who are preoccupied with gender disparity in career fields to point it out.

Eliott C. McLaughlin over at CNN did just that as he attempted to make the Southwest story more of a gender issue with his piece entitled, There are nearly 160,000 pilots in America. Fewer than 7,000 are women.


Of the 159,825 pilots flying for airlines last year, only 6,994 were women, about 4.37%. Both the number and percentage have been on a slow ascent since 2008.

The number of women flying in other commercial capacities is also low — 6,267 of 98,161 last year — and that number is down since 2008, perhaps as part of a general decline in commercial pilots during that time frame. Still, the percentage has basically been static for the past decade.

More than 19,000 women are learning to fly. While only a small fraction of these women will go on to fly for airlines, the number of female students has more than doubled in the past decade.

These statistics are fine, but do they really matter? If women have the equality of opportunity to pursue a career in any given field, not just as pilots, then why shine a spotlight on the disparity as if it is a problem?

Because what really matters to these crusaders is one thing: equality of outcome.

To them, it’s not fair that there are more male pilots than female ones. They cannot rest so long as an imbalance exists. That is absurd.

Women are not barred from pursuing a pilot’s license because they have a vagina. Ovaries do not disqualify them from commercial aviation. To recoil in disgust at the gap between men and women – in any field – is nothing short of sexism disguised as social justice.


If SJWs really desire to have conversations about the “unfair” reality we live in, they should look at all career fields, and not just particular and more prestigious ones.

Madison Breshears at the Washington Examiner made this point perfectly in her recent article about the tech field.

The selective outrage of feminists over disparities like the one in tech is revealing. There is a conspicuous shortage of school programs, campaigns, marches, and hashtags to end the gender gap in, say, teaching, or counseling, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics are professions overwhelmingly dominated by women. Nursing is a pretty good gig — it pays well, is flexible, and nurses can find work anywhere. So, where should we look for the anti-male bias that made it so that more than 90 percent of nurses are women?

Meanwhile, you will search in vain for the calls to eliminate the overrepresentation of men in mining, trucking, sewage, and garbage collecting. The reason for all this is that the feminist Left isn’t so much a political movement for equality with a consistent philosophy as much as it is an expression of rage over the fact that men and women tend to make different career decisions.

Where is all the outrage about lack of men in elementary school settings? Or the shortage of women on construction sites? Why don’t we see articles about how there are too few women rumbling down neighborhood streets in garbage trucks?


Because those don’t matter. They’re not sexy careers. They’re a bit too regular.

If women were kept from tech or aviation careers, that would be cause for actual outrage. But they’re not. Once more, the reason for the disparity in these and other fields comes down to choice. More women pursue nursing. More women pursue careers as elementary school teachers.

It’s ironic that the first wave feminist demand for choice has been shoved aside in favor of advancing a narrative that says women aren’t given enough options. In reality, women have quite a selection in front of them.

We should be thankful for Captain Tammie Jo Shults and her quick thinking on that fateful day. Her choices directly affected the lives of the men and women on board her plane.

And gender had not a thing to do with it.

Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.


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