Meet the Pilots!
While in Reykjavik, Bell Collective met with two women, who are breaking the stereotype about being a woman in a man’s world.
Mandy, 27, says people at the airport often confuse her for a flight attendant, even when she is wearing her uniform. She says she takes it lightly and with a smile. She was never discriminated in the work place though:
“There are no skills, required by a pilot, where women and men would differ drastically” – she says. “Even the most obvious difference which might occur – physical force –is not really required. Basically, there is no logical reasoning for such a disproportional representation of genders in the field”.
Mandy started her training at 19. “I’ve never dreamed of becoming a pilot as a child. Being a pilot? – it is not a girly thing to do, that’s the cliché. I think there will be more young girls who would consider this career, if there were no stereotypes surrounding the profession.”
Þórunn (who also goes by Thorunn for non-Icelandic speakers) started her pilot training at the age of 31, after she finished her studies in science, got married and had 3 little boys. “I called the school and they told me I am still not too old for this” – she remembers with a smile. She got her license at 34 and worked as an instructor for a few years before signing with WOW air.
“My grandfather was a private pilot and I often looked at pictures of him with my mom in the cockpit.” Even though back in the day her parents wanted her to become a doctor – she is really happy with her current choice and gets family’s full support. “My sons are really proud of me being a pilot, even though none of them want to follow in my footsteps,” – she laughs.
We had a great time meeting the two pilots and gaining a small glimpse into their lives. If you’d meet them in Iceland you would never guess what their professions are – and that’s the point. To tear down prejudice and ruin stereotypes we have to lay away with assumptions.
Stereotypes that some professions are “male” and other professions suited for “females” discourage young people from consider those choices. We need to urge for better representation in the media, advertisement and films and at every opportunity highlight and celebrate those who are breaking glass ceilings in their field, like Mandy and Þórunn.
We at Bell Collective truly believe, that encouraging little girls (and boys) into exploring ALL the professional possibilities there are, will create a healthier and more equal distribution in many professional fields.
Photos and text: Alina Rudya Photography