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Legislation Authored by Senators Collins and Duckworth to Support Women Pursuing Careers in Aviation Heads to President’s Desk for Signature

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced today that bipartisan legislation they authored to encourage women to pursue careers in aviation passed the Senate as part of a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The Promoting Women in the Aviation Workforce Act will promote programs to support professional development of women in the aerospace field.  The legislation will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.


“Women are significantly underrepresented in aviation—representing just six percent of pilots, four percent of flight engineers, and two percent of airline mechanics—despite the fact that they make up more than 50 percent of our nation’s workforce,” said Senator Collins. “Our legislation will significantly improve and increase the educational opportunities available to women in this industry.  I am pleased that our bipartisan efforts will encourage the aviation sector to offer opportunities, such as pilot training, STEM education, and mentorship programs that will help women to pursue and succeed in aviation-related careers.”


“When I was training to become a pilot, it was rare to see another woman in my class,” said Senator Duckworth, one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. “Although some progress has been made to help women enter the aviation field, we are still dramatically underrepresented among pilots and we need to do more. That’s why I’m pleased the Senate passed Senator Collins’ and my bipartisan legislation today to help level the playing field for women and encourage them to enter the aviation industry.”


Specifically, the Promoting Women in Aviation Workforce Act will:


  • Express the sense of Congress that the aviation industry should explore all opportunities to encourage and support women to pursue a career in aviation;
  • Direct the FAA to create and facilitate a Women in Aviation Advisory Board to promote organizations and programs that provide education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women in the aviation industry; and
  • Direct the FAA to submit a report to Congress on common trends that discourage women from pursuing aviation careers; expanding existing scholarship opportunities for women in aviation; and coordinating professional training and recruitment programs.