Reach for the skies

29 August 2018 | Becky White

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking…” – the words most of us look forward to hearing, since it generally means we're about to embark on a much needed holiday to a sunny destination. Ordinarily, this is spoken in a male voice, thanks to the majority of airline pilots being men. In recognition of this and in a bid to broaden pilot demographics, easyJet is encouraging young women to take up pilot training.  

Airline companies are in demand of new pilots – particularly easyJet, which has recently released a recruitment video. Featuring a re-enactment of the film Catch Me If You Can, children of easyJet workers are transformed into airline workers. Hannah Revie, daughter of an actual easyJet pilot, plays the part of a pilot walking through the airport (Leonardo DiCaprio style), whilst linking arms with her male cabin crew.

In many Hollywood films (Top Gun springs to mind), the pilot is played by a male actor. It’s these kinds of representations that have led to gender stereotyping claims, since actors are widely recognised as role models and reflectors of societal norms. It’s a response to this that has seen the PR campaign created – and one which I believe will improve self-confidence and ambition in young women, encouraging them to reach for the skies – quite literally in this instance. EasyJet has set a target, hoping that by 2020, 20% of new pilots will be women as opposed to the current 5%. Quite an ambitious statistic, really, despite still being well off 50/50 – but if other airlines join in on this campaign, the 20% target may just be reached.

The recruitment video, created by Taylor Herring, aims to address and solve the issue that young girls don’t often aspire to be pilots. TUI airlines recently caused gender stereotype outrage by giving girls “future cabin crew” and boys “future pilot” stickers aboard its aircrafts. The backlash from this, combined with the video campaign, might just be enough to get the ball rolling… and hopefully in a few years’ time we’ll be seeing far more female pilots manning the cockpit as opposed to pushing the drinks trolley.