Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

African-American women pilots' perceptions of barriers to success in flight-training and strategies to enhance their presence
by Sulton, James E., III, Ed.D., Pepperdine University, 2008, 163; 3311325
Abstract (Summary)

African-American aviatrixes have traditionally experienced barriers in training and their struggles continue today. Furthermore, aspiring African-American aviatrixes exhibit learning styles that differ from their White male counterparts and recruitment and training processes should be tailored to their needs. These efforts, however, will be in vain if effective strategies are not employed to enhance and sustain the presence of African-American women in the aviation industry as pilots. This is a tremendous challenge as few flight instructors and aviation educators are African-American women, which contributes to a dearth of role models, support networks, and access to aviation career information.

This study had 3 purposes: (a) To identify the current obstacles and barriers that have perpetuated disproportionately low representations of African-American women in flight-training; (b) To identify possible solutions for enhancing the achievement of African-American women pilots; and (c) To celebrate and publicize the accomplishments of African-American women pilots. As such, conclusions and recommendations based on the findings have significant implications for flight-training institutions and minority aviation organizations that focus their efforts on enhancing diversity within the aviation industry.

The findings revealed that African-American women who experienced flight-training more than 20 years ago (trailblazers) and those who experienced flight-training within the last 5 years (recently-trained) identified the same barriers to success: substantial costs of flight-training, lack of role models and aviation career information, and a hostile environment within the aviation industry. Moreover, trailblazers and recently-trained African-American women pilots identified similar strategies for enhancing their presence: providing financial aid to African-American flight students and African-American women pilots; providing African-American girls and women with exposure to aviation career information; and establishing networking and mentorship opportunities for African-American women pilots.

The findings indicate a need for change in financial aid policies of flight-training institutions and diversity training initiatives within the aviation industry. Moreover, communities, families, school counselors, and college recruiters should encourage African-American women and girls to pursue flight-training more often by creating programs that foster their participation. Finally, further research is needed to explore the phenomenon of African-American women pilots and to develop strategies that encourage and support women who operate within male-dominated industries.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Purrington, Linda
Commitee: Fitzpatrick, John, Foster, Paul M.
School: Pepperdine University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 69/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Black studies, Womens studies, Adult education, Curriculum development, Vocational education, African American Studies
Keywords: African American women, African-American, Barriers, Flight training, Pilots, Success, Women pilots
Publication Number: 3311325
ISBN: 978-0-549-61969-7
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