April 14, 2023

Duckworth Joins Peters, Fischer, Sinema, Moran to Announce New Bipartisan Legislation to Promote Women in Aviation


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation, joined U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) to announce the new, bipartisan Promoting Women in Aviation Act.

“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.”

Women continue to be underrepresented in the aviation field, where they currently make up less than 12 percent of aerospace engineers, less than 10 percent of licensed pilots and less than 3 percent of maintenance technicians. The Senators’ bipartisan bill would make the Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB) a permanent body in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) so it can continue to provide valuable insight on best efforts to recruit, promote and retain more women in the industry. The board was established as part of the 2018 FAA reauthorization law to create a one-time report with recommendations for the FAA, aviation industry and Congress on how to encourage more women to pursue careers in aviation and remain in the sector. 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.

“Strong representation of women in the workforce is imperative to our nation’s economic competitiveness and success, including in critical fields like aviation,” said Senator Peters. “My commonsense, bipartisan legislation aims to increase the number of women working in aviation, helping to fill workforce gaps and keep costs down by making sure we have enough engineers, pilots, technicians, and other critical aviation workers for years to come.”

“Today, women make up around half of our nation’s workforce. Yet, they make up less than 20 percent of most aviation jobs — like technicians, air traffic controllers, and pilots,” said Senator Fischer. “Recruiting more women into the sector will help alleviate the workforce challenges in aviation, including the ongoing pilot shortage challenges impacting Nebraska.”

“Ensuring women have a viable path to aviation careers is essential for American aviation safety and leadership,” said Senator Sinema. “Our bill empowers women in aviation, recognizes their contributions to our economy, and expands aviation career opportunities.”

“Women play a key role in the Kansas aviation workforce, with the real world example of Rosie the Riveter working on B-29 assembly lines in Wichita during World War II,” said Senator Moran. “Each industry is only as strong as its workforce, and codifying the Women in Aviation Advisory Committee will bolster the aviation sector and make certain women’s voices are heard in this important industry. Initiatives such as this one will recruit and retain a strong talent pipeline for generations to come.”

In 2022, Duckworth led the introduction of the bipartisan Aviation Workforce Development Enhancement Act to help expand the FAA’s current Aviation Workforce Development Grant program by increasing annual funding for pilot development and mechanic development grants, as well as provide grant funding for aviation manufacturing workforce development.