easyJet

This is your Captain speaking

Children’s gender stereotyping revealed by the voices they use when imitating jobs

  • Research experiment by easyJet aims to tackle outdated stereotypes of jobs in the aviation industry
  • New study reveals over half (52%) of British primary school children believe that a pilot is a job for a man
  • 47% of parents think their kids have already formed an opinion on the careers available to them
  • New data shows that travellers will hear ‘This is Your Captain Speaking’ from a female voice in just 1 in 17 flights per year*
  • easyJet is launching its 2024 Pilot Training Programme this spring with the aim of tackling gender stereotypes and inspiring more people to consider a career in aviation

Primary school children enact gender stereotypes when imitating certain job roles, a new study has found.

In an experiment conducted by easyJet, a group of seven-year-old children were asked to act out various occupations, with both girls and boys donning moustaches, choosing male names, and putting on a deep voice, when playing the roles of a mechanic, a builder and an airline pilot.

Boys were captured reaching for long wigs and announcing that nurses have high-pitched voices, whilst girls, playing the role of builders, adopted a deep voice and put on beards and moustaches.

When asked to imitate a pilot, both girls and boys put on male voices to announce, ‘this is your captain speaking’, and chose names such as James, John and even ‘Mr Banana’.

At the end of the video of the children aged seven years old from St Alban and St Stephen Primary School, were excited to be introduced to a real-life female easyJet pilot.

The experiment was commissioned by easyJet ahead of the launch of its 2024 Pilot Training Programme, with the aim of tackling gender stereotypes and inspiring more women to consider a career in aviation.

The campaign has been launched following new research by the airline revealed that over half (52%) of British primary school children believe that a pilot is a job for a man.

The study of 2,000 children (aged six to 11 years old) and their parents found 47% of children have already formed an opinion on the careers available to them by the age of 11 according to parents.

When asked why they believed that pilot is a role for men, the top reason given by children was that they had never seen a female pilot (41%). In fact, data shows travellers will hear ‘This is Your Captain Speaking’ from a female voice in just 1 in 17 flights per year*.

More than half (59%) of British parents surveyed still believe there are misconceptions that a pilot is a job for a man and of those young girls surveyed, 47% said they believe a pilot is a job for a man, showing that not much has changed in a generation.

The research shows that children still think men are more likely to be builders, firefighters and lorry drivers, while women are typically nurses, hairdressers and beauticians.

To challenge these outdated stereotypes easyJet pilots are visiting schools up and down the country to provide visible role models and encourage more children to reach for the sky.

Captain Rebecca Epton, easyJet Pilot said: 

“This research clearly shows children are still forming opinions on the jobs available to them at a very young age, with views still reflecting outdated gender stereotypes.

 “With over two fifths of children still never having seen a female pilot, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet the children from St Alban and St Stephen Primary School and ensure we’re inspiring all children to reach their full potential.

 “This is something easyJet has been focused on for a number of years, with our pilots visiting hundreds of schools and colleges across the country to challenge these stereotypes at school age, and is something we’ll continue to do alongside other action, to ensure we are driving increased diversity within the profession for the long term.”

 The new campaign builds on ongoing work by easyJet to inspire the next generation of aviators and attract more women into the career. easyJet has been tackling this industry challenge for a number of years through initiatives including recruitment campaigns, its pilot school visits programme and Summer Flight School.

As a result, today 7.5% of easyJet’s pilots in in the UK are women, compared to the UK industry average of 4.7% with around 300 women including 99 Captains now flying for the airline, which will continue its efforts to see these numbers further grow.

For more information about a career as pilot with easyJet visit becomeapilot.easyJet.com. To request a school visit from an easyJet pilot, contact pilotvisits@easyJet.com.

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