Proposed Bill Would Make FAA's Women in Aviation Advisory Board Permanent

Women have out-numbered men since the late 1940s and make up about half the country's workforce, U.S. Census data show. But in most aviation occupations, women hold less than 20% of the jobs, and the figure has not moved much in decades.

Helping change this--and get aviation much-needed workers in key positions--was the reason Congress established the Women in Aviation Advisory Board in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act. The board's assignment: develop a set of independent recommendations to the FAA Administrator on how to encourage and support female students and aviators to pursue a career in aviation. WIAAB delivered, via a report to the FAA.

Now, some lawmakers want WIAAB to have a permanent place within the FAA. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) have jointly introduced the Promoting Women in Aviation Act. The bipartisan bill would make the WIAAB a permanent body within the FAA so it can continue to provide valuable insight on best efforts to recruit, promote and retain more women in aviation.

“It is frustrating that women are still dramatically underrepresented among pilots, mechanics and other critical roles in our aviation workforce—especially at a time when we face such an acute need for more workers in this industry,” said Senator Duckworth. “As the Chair of the Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation Subcommittee, I’m proud to help introduce this legislation with Senator Peters to establish a Women in Aviation Advisory Committee so we can help expand outreach, level the playing field for women and encourage them to enter the aviation industry—strengthening the aviation workforce while helping keep the flying public safe.”

The bill "would help strengthen the aviation workforce at-large as well as address pilot shortage challenges that have especially disrupted air service in rural areas as well as maintenance technician pipeline challenges that have hurt the aviation supply chain," the senators said in a joint statement.

The council, which supports common-sense legislation that fosters aviation workforce development programs, will follow the bill's progress and keep members up to date.