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Precursors to Gender Attitudes in the Air Cadet Gliding Population

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Technical memo.

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Directorate of Flight Safety DFS data between 1997 and 2007 suggest that a disproportionate number of female pilots are involved in Canadian air cadet glider accidents. Research also suggests that commercial aviation continues to be dominated by masculine cultural values and practices, possibly leading to feelings of pressure among females to perform, as well as prejudicial attitudes towards female aviators Davey, 2004 Vermeulen Mitchell, 2007. Research by Febbraro et al.2008 also found differential treatment of males and females in the Canadian air cadet glider training environment. All of these factors suggest that female air cadets may be exposed to negative attitudes and expectations and may encounter stereotype threat i.e., negative gender stereotypes in flight situations. Such negative stereotypes or attitudes could, in turn, play a role in the deficit in performance among female cadets, and possibly contribute to the number of accidents attributed to females. This study explored the precursors to negative gender attitudes in an attempt to identify some of the key factors that contribute to stereotype threat. Structural equation modeling based on survey findings from a sample of male and female air cadets N 211 indicated that an awareness of pilot limitations and rational thinking patterns predicted aviation gender attitudes AGA. Knowing the precursors to negative AGA could point to a mechanism by which these attitudes, and therefore, the environment encountered by female cadets, may be altered to increase their confidence and decrease the stereotype threat, thus potentially leading to fewer accidents.

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  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Psychology

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