IAF training squadron commander Maj. Daniel: “More women are applying for the screening than in the past, and we want more women to join the course. The goal is to get to the point where the pilots’ course is 50% women.”
By Lilach Shoval
A record number of women have made it through the latest screening week for potential cadets in the IDF’s prestigious two-year pilots training course. Women comprised 11% of the potential cadets in the intensive testing held last week, and approximately half of the female candidates who began the program completed it successfully, compared to 40% in 2016 and 30% in 2015.
Since the landmark High Court ruling in the 1990s that forced the IDF to accept women into the pilots course, 48 female cadets have successfully completed the course and received their wings. According to the Israeli Air Force, a very similar percentage of male and female cadets drop out of the course or are dropped before finishing.
The IAF data also shows that over the past four years, the number of women applicants to the pilots course has risen by 60%, as has the number of women applicants who are invited to the precourse screening week. From 2012 to 2016, women comprised about 10% of the applicants who began the weeklong screening.
The military has made it a goal to increase the number of women who volunteer for pilots training, and is trying to attract female applicants.
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“We’ve moved up. We’ve managed to penetrate [people’s] consciousness and bring more women into the pilots course,” said IAF training squadron commander Maj. Daniel (IAF pilots’ full names are withheld from publication).
“More women are applying for the screening than in the past, and we want more women to join the course. The goal is to get to the point where the pilots’ course is 50% women, reflecting the percentage of women in the general population. We are looking for every member of the population who meets the criteria, no matter their background or gender. We are fighting for everyone who has the potential to be a flight crew member; the country needs them. The pilots course is in high demand, but not everyone who wants to fly is fit to,” Maj. Daniel said.
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