Molly Copeland, 2023

Supporting Women in Aviation

Maternity/Paternity Leave and Family-Friendly Policies in the Aviation Industry

Working Draft By BCIT Student Graduation Project – Do Not Cite


Our research focuses on addressing the personnel shortage in the aviation industry through the reinforcement of family-friendly policies, particularly emphasizing maternity and paternity leave, as well as childcare support. These policies not only attract and retain a diverse workforce but also advance gender diversity, crucially enhancing the representation of women in various aviation sectors.

Challenges of Parenthood in the Aviation Industry

Balancing the demands of parenthood with professional responsibilities requires delicate stability in the rapidly moving workplace. However, adaptable parents demonstrate resilience in meeting both family and career needs.

Existing Policies and Their Limitations

Regrettably, certain employers, notably some airlines, lack adequate family leave policies and foster an environment where employees are hesitant to disclose their family planning. Even when policies exist, fear of repercussions often dissuades individuals from utilizing them, contributing to the personnel shortage in the aviation industry. Moreover, existing policies may be limited in duration or fail to offer sufficient financial compensation, leaving employees feeling unsupported during a critical period in their lives. Disparities in leave benefits between different roles within the industry can further exacerbate inequities, disproportionately impacting women’s career trajectories.

Impact on Workforce Diversity

The shortage in the aviation sector is not merely numerical; it’s qualitative. Skilled professionals, particularly women, might opt out or delay starting families due to these fears, narrowing the talent pool and impacting workforce diversity.

Exploring Additional Support Mechanisms

Beyond conventional leave policies, our research explores additional support mechanisms for employees managing family responsibilities. Implementing changes such as expanding family-oriented policies, enhancing childcare support, and providing on-site childcare facilities at airports can significantly alleviate challenges. By offering comprehensive support mechanisms, including flexible work hours and remote work options, aviation companies empower employees to balance professional responsibilities with family obligations. These initiatives contribute to employee well-being and job satisfaction while attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, particularly by facilitating women’s participation.

Attracting More Women to the Aviation Industry

Attracting more women to the aviation industry is crucial for fostering innovation and cultivating a dynamic work environment. In this pursuit, our research takes an inclusive approach, examining policies such as menstrual leave and breaks for breastfeeding. Simultaneously, we assess the impact of events designed to recruit and retain women in aviation careers.


In conclusion, our research aims to create an inclusive and supportive environment in the aviation industry, enhancing family-friendly policies, and actively championing gender diversity.

More Resources for Information and Support:

Elevate Aviation

Elevate Aviation, founded in 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta, aims to close the gender gap in Canada’s aviation industry by raising awareness and offering programs to introduce women and youth to aviation careers.

International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA)

IAWA, founded in 1988, is an international organization for women in aviation and aerospace. It fosters networking, shares industry insights, and promotes women’s advancement worldwide. Through conferences, receptions, and scholarships, IAWA empowers women in the industry and encourages young women to pursue careers in aviation and aerospace.

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