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Chinese female pilot hopes sky's the limit for gender equality

6 November 2018

Han Siyuan first decided to apply for a job as a pilot cadet in 2008, she was up against 400 female classmates in China. She is now a captain for the Chinese budget carrier. Han is one of just 713 women in China who, at the end of 2017, held a license to fly civilian aircraft, compared to 55,052 men. Of Spring Airlines' 800 pilots, only six are women.

China's proportion of female pilots - at 1.3 percent - is one of the world's lowest, which analysts and pilots attribute to social perceptions and male-centric hiring practices by Chinese airlines. China's airlines only hire cadets directly from universities or the military. They often limit recruitment drives to male applicants and very rarely take in female cohorts. Such gender issues are not confined to China; the proportion of female pilots in South Korea and Japan, where such jobs do not conform to widespread gender stereotypes, is less than 1 percent.