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Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

Representing the 5th District of Connecticut

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Esty Introduces Bill to Create FAA Women in Aviation Advisory Board

December 20, 2017
Press Release
Legislation would require FAA to report to Congress on trends in aviation recruitment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) introduced bipartisan legislation to allow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish a new Women in Aviation Advisory Board. The board would promote organizations and programs providing education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women into the aviation industry. Esty’s legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-2), Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17), and Rep. Mimi Walters (CA-45). 

While women make up over half of the American workforce, they are significantly underrepresented in the aviation industry. Less than ten percent of airline mechanics, flight engineers, repair personnel, and airline pilots are women, and women comprise just over a quarter of air traffic controllers. Aviation industry groups and business leaders are concerned that this shortfall could lead to trouble filling spots as more workers retire. 

“This bill continues the important work of encouraging more people – and especially women – to consider careers in the high-skill field of aerospace,” Esty said. “At a time when nearly a fifth of our aerospace engineers are able to consider retiring, we need to elevate the initiatives happening in the private sector to encourage women to join this important sector of the workforce. Women bring new perspectives, skills, backgrounds, and problem solving skills to the table – traits we know are necessary to compete for the high-wage jobs of the future.

“I’m pleased that, at a time when Congress is more divided than ever on many issues, we’re able to recognize the importance of encouraging the next generation of workers on a bipartisan basis.” 

National Business Aviation Association President and CEO Ed Bolen praised Rep. Esty for introducing the legislation. “I commend Congresswoman Esty for recognizing the need for women to have greater representation in aviation, and taking this step to address the challenge, with her bipartisan proposal to create the Women in Aviation Advisory Board under the auspices of the Federal Aviation Administration. The board would fill an important need, by helping groups and programs that are working to narrow this gap by recruiting more women into aviation jobs. Everyone in the aviation industry would benefit from the resulting increase in workforce diversity.”

“The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, is committed to exploring all avenues to attract the best and brightest to the piloting profession while maintaining the safety standards that protect airline passengers and cargo shippers and make North American air transportation the safest in the world,” said Capt. Tim Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA). “ALPA pilots commend Rep. Esty, Rep. Walorski, Rep. Bustos, and Rep. Walters for their leadership in encouraging more women to consider a career in aviation. The measure introduced today to create an FAA Women in Aviation Advisory Board is extremely promising action to do more to ensure the United States has an adequate supply of fully qualified airline pilots in the future.” 

“Women play an essential role in our nation’s economy but are still underrepresented in many different industries, including aviation,” Walorski said. “We need to make sure women have every opportunity to succeed in this country. This bipartisan bill would empower the next generation of women in American aviation by strengthening outreach and mentorship and improving access to STEM education and workforce training.”

“When women have a seat at the table, it’s good for business and the aviation industry is no exception,” Bustos said. “In Northern Illinois, we have a strong and growing aerospace industry and I have no doubt that encouraging more women to enter this high-paying, high-skill field will help us ensure a brighter economic future in our community.”

“Women are vital to the growth and prosperity of the American economy,” Walters said. “Expanding access to STEM education programs will help the next generation of women better compete for jobs in the aviation sector.  I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their help advancing this important legislation.”

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