Date of this Version
Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 6, No.3-July 2008 ISSN: 1541-6224
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the status of women's participation in full-time, non-engineering aviation baccalaureate programs in the United States. In addition, the involvement of women in academic aviation leadership positions (such as chair, dean, or director) was evaluated. Of 353 full-time aviation faculty members employed at 60 different aviation programs meeting the study's criteria, 36 (10.1 %) were female. Eighty faculty were identified in academic leadership positions, and of these faculty leaders, 8 (10%) were women. These participation rates were found to be slightly higher than those found among the pilot population and in the aviation industry in general. The level of women's involvement in aviation higher education has increased in comparison to the findings of four out of five previous studies on this subject and has remained stable.
Since World War II, the number of women in the U.S. workforce has increased significantly (University of Arizona, 1999). The U.S. Department of Labor (2006) reported that women comprise 46% of the American workforce. The 2003 data released by the U.S. Department of Education (2005a) reported that women made up 39.3% of higher education faculty compared to the 37.2% reported in 1999 (U.S. Department of Education, 2001). The aviation industry has also shared in the increase in women participation, albeit on a much smaller scale. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (2006a) reported that although the number of total pilots has decreased during the past ten years, the number of women pilots has increased during the same period. Concurrently, the quantity of professional- level (airline transport pilot or ATP) certificated female pilots has also been on the rise (FAA, 2006a). Further, more women enroll in collegiate aviation programs now than ever before (U.S. Department of Education, 1995; U.S. Department of Education, 2005b).