Interviewed by Insurance4Drones.
Females With Altitude: Why are there so few female drone pilots?
As an advocate for encouraging more women into the Technology industry, I was honoured to be interviewed by award winning Moonrock Insurance the UK's first flexible 'click and pay' Drone insurance business, underwritten by Hiscox Insurance... Take a peek below – happy reading!
DJI Phantom - coming in for landing
At Insurance 4 drones we regularly look at demographics when researching whom our potential customers might be. One thing we have noticed is how few female pilots are using drones commercially; in fact approximately 6% of PFAW’s (Permission For Aerial Work) given by the CAA, are to females. We spoke to two female droners, CAA approved pilot Maureen Saunderson of VR Vistas and currently qualifying pilot Charlene L’Aimable of Black Kite Creative, to get their insights into why this is such a male dominated industry and how this might change going forward.
I4D: What’s your background and what made you want to become a drone pilot?
CL: I’d lived near an RC club since the age of 9 or 10 and this sparked a hobbyist interest. Later in life I had set up a Graphic Design company which included video production, so aerial photography/videography seemed a natural extension of both my chosen work and my hobby – as a drone enthusiast, I was also getting requests for aerial photography, before I’d enrolled for my theory course with pilot school RUSTA, where I was the only female in the class.
MS: My earlier background was lecturing and training in Maths and Computing, and after that around eight years ago, I set up a Virtual Reality panoramic photography company. In 2012 I was introduced to 360° video at a conference, which sparked my aerial photography interest. I too was the only female in a class of thirteen, when I went to Resource for pilot qualification in 2014.
I4D: What do you think are the reasons there have been so few women who are drone pilots to date?
CL: For me I think it comes down to the education. Some people just don’t know about drones and there can be negative drone imagery in the press. I believe educating young females about the many practical uses of drones – showing them the available career paths that they could take by training to use drones, could encourage more interest. I also think women are not particularly encouraged to enter the market right now from a marketing perspective – I recently read a statistic that 99% of drone related purchases are by men – therefore all the marketing would be focussed towards men, and women may not associate with this fully.
MS: I believe it’s cultural – for example I recently went to a yoga class which had one male and the rest female – culturally women may be attracted to such classes more naturally than men; but if I look at the motor racing industry, it tends to be a man’s world, and I think it is similar in the drone industry. Men culturally tend to be drawn to more mechanical subjects, as evidenced by numbers of students in engineering courses at colleges and universities. That said, my course teacher at Resource suggested that although I was only the fifth female pilot he’d taught, collectively they had proven to be generally safer and more cautious pilots in his opinion.
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE