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Coping with Sexism

Experiencing sexism as a pilot can be disheartening and challenging. Here are some strategies to help you cope with sexism in your profession: 

1. Seek support:

Connect with other pilots, both male and female, who have experienced similar challenges. Share your experiences and concerns with trusted colleagues or join professional organizations that promote diversity and inclusion in aviation. Having a supportive network can provide validation, advice, and encouragement. 

2. Educate yourself:

Learn about your rights as an employee and the policies and regulations in place to address workplace discrimination. Understanding the legal protections available to you can help you navigate instances of sexism more effectively. 

3. Document incidents:

Keep a record of any incidents of sexism or discriminatory behaviour that you experience or witness. Note the date, time, location, individuals involved, and a detailed description of what occurred. Having a documented record can be helpful if you decide to report the incidents later. 

4. Address the issue directly:

If you feel comfortable doing so, address the sexist behaviour directly with the individuals involved. Clearly and calmly communicate your boundaries and express that their actions or comments are not acceptable. Sometimes, people may not be aware of the impact of their behaviour, and open dialogue can lead to positive change. 

5. Report incidents:

If the sexism persists or becomes severe, consider reporting the incidents to your employer’s human resources department or a designated authority within your organization. Follow the established reporting procedures and provide the documented evidence you have collected. Be prepared to cooperate with any investigations that may take place. 

6. Seek professional guidance:

If the effects of sexism are taking a toll on your mental and emotional well-being, consider seeking support from a therapist or counsellor. They can provide guidance, coping strategies, and a safe space to express your feelings. 

7. Focus on your strengths and achievements:

Remind yourself of your skills, qualifications, and achievements as a pilot. Celebrate your successes and let them serve as a reminder of your capabilities, regardless of any biases or discrimination you may encounter. 

8. Stay connected with your passion:

Remember why you became a pilot in the first place and hold onto your passion for aviation. Focus on the aspects of your career that bring you joy and fulfilment, and let that passion drive you forward despite the challenges you may face. 

9. Advocate for change:

Consider becoming an advocate for gender equality in the aviation industry. Share your experiences, participate in discussions, and promote diversity and inclusion initiatives. By raising awareness and actively working towards change, you can help create a more inclusive and equitable environment for future generations of pilots. 

10. Take care of yourself:

Engage in self-care activities that help you manage stress and maintain your overall well-being. This could include exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or seeking outlets for creative expression. Prioritising your physical and mental health is essential when coping with challenging situations. 

Remember, coping with sexism in the workplace is a personal journey, and it’s important to prioritise your well-being throughout the process. Seek support, advocate for change, and focus on your own growth and success as you navigate your career as a pilot. 

If you or a loved one is in immediate crisis...