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First impressions

Tips for making a woman feel more comfortable while building a relationship

Newsletter - April 2021


A flying club should be a place where both males and females feel comfortable and with no gender discrimination. Sweden is well known for gender equality, but still we lack that equality in Sweden’s aviation—something we must all work together to improve. But whether we mean to or not, bias or the appearance of bias can show up in many different ways. Here are a few quick tips to get started on making your flying club more gender neutral/friendly:

  • Make female students/pilots feel welcome, but don’t make her feel like you’re treating her too differently than the male students/pilots. She wants to fit in, not to be treated like a novelty.

    • But DO mention WAI so they know your flying club is supportive/understanding and that there are options of support, mentorship, and community for them during their training/flying. Remember also that men are encouraged to be involved with WAI (~20% of members worldwide are men).

  • Pay attention to how questions are worded, so they don’t sound sexist/biased.

    • Use the term “pilot” rather than “female pilot” in everyday context/questions.

    • Avoid questions/statements that imply women are somehow different or must focus more on family than men should.

    • Consider doing an introduction questionnaire on paper, so it’s clear that these questions are something for everyone and not only because she’s a woman.

      • For help reviewing current questionnaires or putting together one, our Outreach Chair (also an experienced flight instructor) Saida is happy to give her advice, as is our President Melissa (an experienced flight school office manager).

  • Create a comfortable atmosphere.

    • Remove unnecessary “locker room talk”.

    • Make the flying club feel a little more “homey” (and clean), and not too bare/cold (not a “bachelor pad”). Consider imagery and books of not only men in aviation, but also of (or by) women. Also include a WAI poster and/or logo where it’s easily visible.

Let’s work together to remove what’s left of (often unintentional) gender bias.  As part of our WAI partnership program, we are happy to help any flying clubs or other aviation companies/organizations in various aspects, such as helping to review current setups and policies, joint marketing efforts, and activities/events. Please visit our website at for information or to join WAI, or contact us at for questions.

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