National Survey Results: Retention of Women in College Aviation
Aeronautics, Study & teaching, Women air pilots
Since the numbers of women pursuing technical careers in aviation continues to remain very low, a study on retention of women was undertaken by a team of university faculty from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona State University, and Kent State University. The study was initiated to discover the factors that influence women once they have already selected an aviation career and to ascertain what could be done to support those women who have demonstrated a serious interest in an aviation career by enrolling in a collegiate aviation program. This paper reports preliminary results of data collected in the first and second years of the study. The data was collected from surveys of 390 college students (195 women and 195 men) majoring in aviation programs in nine colleges and universities, representing widely varied geographic areas and including both two- and four-year institutions. Results revealed significant areas of concern among women in pilot training. When queried about these concerns, differences were evident in the responses of the male and female groups. These differences were expected. However, a surprising finding was that women in early stages of pilot training responded differently from women in more experienced stages. These response differences did not occur among the men surveyed. The results, therefore, suggest that women in experienced stages of training may have gone through an adaptation process and reflect more male-like attitudes about a number of subjects, including social issues, confidence, family, and career.