gender-neutral language

FAA to discuss gender-neutral language this week

Is a drone unmanned? Or what about something more gender-neutral, like unpiloted? The Federal Aviation Administration is set to discuss gender-neutral language in a meeting this week.

Early in 2021, the FAA asked its Drone Advisory Committee to make recommendations on how the FAA and the industry could shift to using gender-neutral language. That work began in March — and results from the group’s work are set to arrive this week. The DAC is scheduled to return its recommendations to the FAA in a meeting this Wednesday, June 23.

“The need for gender-inclusive language comes as the Biden-Harris Administration works to build a more equitable and diverse aviation industry,” an FAA spokesperson told The Drone Girl. “Today, the number of women who are flight training students, commercial pilots and flight instructors has started to increase. And as new types of aircraft enter the U.S. airspace–like drones and rockets–the opportunity to bring new people into the industry has only grown.”

Still, the number of women in the drone industry is small. American drone maker Skydio put out a report earlier this year stating that just 5% of Skydio 2 drones were purchased by women.

Discussions about gender-inclusive language at the FAA Drone Advisory Committee level largely took off during the first virtual edition of the meeting back in June 2020, when Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics, brought it up.

Of course, the topic is contentious for some people — just see the replies on that above tweet for more on that.

Learn more: Dr. Catherine Ball’s TEDx talk on how drones can close the critical gap in equality

The June 23 meeting will be held between noon and 2:30 p.m. ET, and will be held virtually. Like previous DAC meetings held in the COVID-era, this meeting will be livestreamed, making it free and available for the public to watch. Tune in on the FAA’s Facebook page or the FAA’s YouTube channel.

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