FAA panel recommends the agency adopt gender-neutral language

close up of an airplane engine in sunlight.

The Federal Aviation Administration may soon buckle under the growing demand to replace male and female pronouns with gender-neutral language.

The FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee put forth recommendations last week that the agency abandons such words as “airman,” “cockpit,” and “he, she, his, hers.”

“Research shows that the utilization of gender-neutral language can lead to a more inclusive environment that draws more people to the industry and helps keep them there,” the advisory report states.

The panel said gender-specific identifiers should be replaced with words that avoid “exclusionary language.” That change would make workers “feel safe sharing their views, thereby improving psychological and operational safety,” the report adds.

Suggested changes would include swapping the words “cockpit” with “flight deck,” “manmade” with “constructed,” and “airman” with “aircrew or aviator.”

The change is needed, the advisory board recommends, due to marginalized groups being “significantly underrepresented in the aviation industry,” creating a “shortage of pilots and other aviation professionals.”

As might be expected, the advisory board cited no evidence to support this claim.

Instead, the board said there were “anecdotal stories of some in the industry expressing disbelief regarding the existence of gender disparities.”

Here again, the panel offered no testimonials or examples of such anecdotal stories.

The panel asserts that women, in particular, are less likely to work in aviation due to feelings of isolation over the current use of male and female pronouns.

About 8% of all traditional airplane pilots certified by the FAA are women.

Claiming it’s not enough to say, ‘”All they have to do is come join us,'” the panel believes more females would enter their ranks if gender-neutral terms were adopted.

“Gender-neutral language is one of the ways to create an inclusive and diverse organization and culture. Gender-neutral language does not isolate or identify one specific gender as an assumed identity of the organization or industry,” the report opines.


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