In the United States, there’s a severe gender gap in the aviation industry.
About 5.12 percent of commercial pilots are women, according to Gender Gap Grader. Other sources report the number as low as 4.3 percent.
That’s despite the fact that women have played a crucial role in the development of aviation technologies. From Amelia Earhart to the first woman to break the sound barrier, Jacqueline Cochran, dozens have shown that female pilots are every bit as capable as their male counterparts—perhaps even more so, as research from NASA indicates that women’s bodies might be better equipped to handle difficult G-forces.
Still, women are underrepresented in commercial aviation. This might be because of issues with flight training schools, which are primarily staffed by men; some believe that male instructors might have a harder time communicating effectively with their female students. There’s even some research to suggest that women may have to demonstrate more knowledge to pass their flight tests, as compared to their male counterparts.
Whatever the case, there are a growing number of pilots hoping to change the trend.
Eva Claire Marseille is an excellent example. She currently has more than 33,000 Instagram followers, and she’s using her social media to normalize the idea of a female pilot.
Marseille, a 31-year-old Dutch woman, flies a Boeing 737. She frequently posts from her cockpit, adding messages of inspiration for her thousands of followers.
“Until you spread your wings, you will have no idea how far you can fly,” she wrote in one recent post.
There’s also Lindy Kats, a Netherlands-born pilot flying out of Italy.
With 58,000 followers, Kats is becoming a major name in commercial aviation. Her Instagram features the slogan, “Exploring the world bit by bit,” and she frequently posts from exotic locations.
Of course, she still posts plenty of cockpit pics, emphasizing the incredible feeling of freedom she gets from piloting planes.
Her YouTube channel is even more focused. She fills her channel with videos of her experiencing piloting and riding in planes. In the video below, for example, she flies by the stunning Dubai skyline.
Maria Fagerström, a Swedish pilot with more than 263,000 followers, is another surprisingly popular figure on Instagram.
She flies a B737, and she describes herself as an “Outdoor adventurer and traveler. Airline pilot and life lover.”
Like Kats and Marseille, Fagerström’s posts show off a fun, adventurous lifestyle; however, the focus of the posts is clearly on her piloting skills.
These pilots probably wouldn’t say that they’re actively fighting the aviation gender gap, but that’s exactly what they’re doing; they’re normalizing the idea of successful, competent female pilots, even if when confined to a few pictures, tweets, or videos.
It’s something of an uphill battle, but more women receive their pilots’ licenses each year. Many training schools are adapting to the trends, so we’ll likely see an increasingly equal representation of women in the cockpit.
In the meantime, however, these women will be on Instagram, YouTube, and other social media services, fighting the good fight and exploring the skies in the process.