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Home > Female Pilots > Will I be discriminated because I am a female?
Will I be discriminated because I am a female?
Pilot Career - Female Pilots
Wednesday, 12 September 2007 05:24

Dear Captain Lim,

I am a 20-year-old English female currently residing in New Zealand where I also hold a permanent residency. I have a few questions: I was wondering if you could help me.

Firstly, I am extremely interested in pursuing my lifetime dream as an airline pilot. The only problem is (and this is what has put me off in the past), I*m afraid that I might be discriminated (because I am female) during the selection process, interviews, etc, and never actually make it to where I want to be. I say this because there doesn*t seem to be much evidence to support employment of females to *co-pilot or captain* level, which is where I would like to aim and the statistics appear to be extremely male-biased. Do you think this would be a problem for me?

Secondly, almost all of the minimum criteria state that you should have a pass in English in Year 12. I am a bit worried as to whether I meet these qualification requirements because in England, things work slightly differently; you go to High School up to year 10 (end-16yrs) where you complete GCSE exams, then you either go to work or to College to do A levels (end-18 yrs). I only completed one year of College as I left to join an International bank, so I have As levels (half an A level). Now I am currently at University studying Physical Geography and Geology, and although (if I pursue career as pilot) I will not have a degree (as it is my first year) I will have completed 8 papers.

So all in all, I have:-

GSCE Maths English: B+
AS Business & Media: B*s
Uni Papers 7x BSc papers, 1x Ba: B+

So looking at my qualifications it seems I do not actually have a pass in English at year 12 but I do have qualifications either side of this mark. Do you think that this is sufficient to be employed or is the selection process extremely stringent?

My last question, sorry it*s only a quick one. I currently live in NZ but there doesn*t appear to be many pilot cadet paths (if any) and future employment opportunities don*t look too bright, I can*t really afford to move to Australia, but do you think that this would be the most advisable move if I was going to have a chance of making to become an airline pilot?

If you can help me with any of this, I would be so very grateful :)

Kind regards,


Hi Amanda,

Today, more and more women are taking up flying. In the airline that I am currently with, there are at least 10 female pilots flying the Airbus A320 as First Officers. None of them are being discriminated. Perhaps some anti-feminists must have used the gender-difference arguments to suggest that women pilots are inherently less suited to the task of flying commercial planes than men. However, this discrimination is not practiced in many airlines though.

In fact, a female aspiring pilot that satisfies the entry requirements may have a slight advantage in getting an airline pilot position, as some companies do bend over backwards to not appear discriminatory.

Now your problem is that you do not have a pass in English at year 12. If that is the requirement, then you have to satisfy it unless you can get an exemption. From what I know, Air New Zealand requires its pilots to have at least the following academic qualifications:

Minimum Three *C* passes in the Seventh Form Bursary Examinations and Higher School Certificate, or a total of 16 or less in your 4 best Sixth Form Certificate subjects including a Grade 5 or better in English. The preferred subjects are English, Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science.

I suggest you write to the airlines that you are interested in to get a clearer picture as to your status.

Air New Zealand does not offer Cadetships or Scholarships in order for you to get your pilot qualifications.

You should contact the Manager or Chief Flying Instructor of a Flight Training Organization, University or Institute in your area. They would be able to discuss your career objectives and advise you of the necessary training, licensing requirements and costs.

A brochure detailing
*How to be a Pilot* can be found on CAA*s website http://www.caa.govt.nz/ or by contacting CAA (P O Box 31 441, Lower Hutt New Zealand, Tel 04-5609400).

I wish you all the best in your future flying career :-)


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Comments (2)

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Nice questions and nice response!

I am glad to find out there is a site/forum like this.

Anyways, what are the test/exams you need to pass and take during your flight school years?
Carol , 20 Jan, 2009
Tests/Exams in a Flying School
If you, for instance, enroll with a Flying School in Malaysia, such as MFA (http://www.mfa.edu.my/faq.html), their website has the answers to your question.

The tests/exams you need to pass and take in order to get your CPL/IR consist of the the following examinations:-

They are classified under two Examination Paper Group headings: Group 1 (Navigation) and Group 2 (Aircraft):

The Navigation group papers (Group 1) comprises the following :

Flight Planning
Radio Aids
Meteorology Theory
Meteorology Practical

The Navigation Associated Papers are :

Aviation Law, Flight Rules & Procedures, Paper 1 and 2

The Aircraft Technical Papers (Group 2) comprises the following :

Principle of Flight
Flying Controls
Airframe System

The Aircraft Technical Associated Papers are :

- Aircraft Performance ‘A'
- Load & Balance
- Aircraft (Type)
- Human Performance & Limitations
- Radio Telephony (RT)

The passing mark for the examinations are:-

a) CPL ground subjects (DCA and UKCAA) - 75%.
b) ATPL UKCAA - 75%
c) PPL ground subjects - 70% except for RT (75%)
Captain Lim , 20 Jan, 2009

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