Overcoming Gender Barriers in Aircraft Maintenance: Women’s Perceptions in the United States

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Patti J. Clark
Jason M. Newcomer
Angela M. Jones


The Federal Aviation Administration’s 2014 annual airman certificate demographics report revealed that women comprise roughly 23% of the non-pilot certificated airman in the United States; however, only 2.3% of the certified aircraft mechanic workforce are women. The problem explored in this mixed-methods concurrent triangulation study was the literature gap regarding factors that impact the demographic disparity between men and women in the aircraft maintenance technician field. The purpose of the study was to understand why most women choose not to become aircraft mechanics. A total of 431 female participants completed a 13-question survey containing 5-point Likert and open-ended questions to collect quantitative and qualitative data that addressed the research question. Results indicated that neither motherhood nor marriage were factors that impacted a woman’s interest in a career as an aircraft maintenance technician. Furthermore, there was a relationship between a woman’s perception of physical limitations as a mechanic, career appropriateness, work environment safety, social acceptance, and advancement opportunities. Finally, the qualitative analysis yielded a substantial amount of informative themes and nodes that illuminated a general lack of women’s knowledge regarding the field and a perception of sexual discrimination if one were to start such a career.

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