Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

International Women's Day: ‘Don’t let anything hold you back'

8 Mar 2021 11:02 | Communication

Women still form a minority in the aviation industry. 'Even at an early age, I realised that aviation is a man’s world', says Cate Brancart, private pilot and board member at Women in Aviation, who studied at the AUAS Aviation Academy.

Women still form a minority in the aviation industry. That’s something that lecturer Nargis Zamaray and programme manager Sannie Bombeeck of the AUAS Aviation Academy aim to change. To achieve their aim, they’ve set up the Dutch chapter of Women in Aviation (WAI). WAI promotes the interests of women in the aviation industry, from students through to aviation employees. All year round, women can find networking opportunities at WAI and receive supervision from a role model. Thirty-one-year-old Cate Brancart, private pilot and board member at Women in Aviation, talks about what it’s like to be one of the few women in a male-dominated world.

Overcoming barriers

‘My father is a private pilot and I’ve always shared his passion for aviation. Even at an early age,
I realised that aviation is a man’s world. I earned respect on account of my fighting spirit and by undergoing the training programme and getting my private pilot’s licence. In my view, being among the three percent of female pilots in the world is one of my greatest strengths for helping to overcome the barriers encountered by women in the aviation industry.’

Prejudices about women in aviation

‘Society would have us believe that aviation is for men. As long as you don’t allow yourself to be influenced by this stereotype, you can achieve a great deal. I think that women need to prove themselves more than men in order to climb the career ladder, but you gain a lot of strength and self-confidence along the way. I’ve encountered various prejudices about women in aviation, both positive and negative. All of these, each in their own way, have led me to work harder. The positive remarks motivated me to really earn them, while the negative remarks made me want to prove that they were unjustified.’

My own worst enemy

‘For most of my life, I was my own worst enemy – I thought I would never make it or wouldn’t be good enough to achieve anything. However, I learned a huge amount and increased my self-confidence by achieving some of those impossible things. I’m where I am today thanks to everyone who believed in me and gave me advice. On International Women’s Day, I’d like to advise young women to find out what really makes them happy. Know your strengths and weaknesses, set yourself goals and don’t let anything hold you back – not even yourself.’