Women in aviation

Women in aviation group shot

Throughout history, ground-breaking women in aviation have taken to the skies and paved the way for future generations. Raymonde de Laroche received her pilot's license in 1910 and was the first woman in the world to do so. Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. Fast forward to 2020 and only 5% of the world’s pilots are women.

In 2020, WestJet is committed to inspiring more women to pursue careers in aviation. Because even as a global airline with the third-highest percentage of female pilots in North America*, only 7.1% of WestJet’s pilots are women.

*2020, The International Society of Women Airline Pilots. Global airline is defined as a global network carrier, flying outside of North America.

The video features 2,148 pilot wings to represent each of WestJet's pilots. The voice-over is read by Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. As WestJet's leader, Ed's voice exemplifies the organization's commitment to equal representation. In the coming years, diversity will be our strength as we continue to expand our global reach and take our guests further than ever before.


WestJet women paving the way

Representation matters and it is more important than ever for women and young girls to see themselves represented in every type of career. Meet some of the WestJetters that are inspiring a new generation of women.


"Kids determine what they can be based on the examples around them." [source]

Ashlee Tanner

Manager Fleet Engineering

As a little girl, inspired by her mother’s career, Ashlee Tanner had her sights set on becoming a surgeon, but in high school quickly learned that she didn’t exactly have a strong aptitude for biology... read more

Ashlee Tanner, Manager Fleet Engineering


Patricia Gauthier

Regional Manager International Airports

As a young girl, growing up in Montreal, Patricia Gauthier had an undeniable connection to aviation. “My dad used to take me on his business trips to Toronto. At the time, flying was extremely expensive so we would have to drive... read more

Patricia Gauthier, Regional Manager International Airports


Colleen Tynan

Director of Contact Centre

In the summer of 1988, Colleen Tynan’s family went on a vacation to Hawaii. At the time, flying wasn’t affordable, making this opportunity highly anticipated and rare for Colleen. On her flight, at the age of 10, Colleen was intrigued by the cabin crew... read more

Colleen Tynan, Director of Contact Centre


Rose Streete

Cabin Crew Member

Before becoming a cabin crew member in 2016, Rose Streete was terrified of flying. For Rose, flying involved holding tightly onto the arm rest, dreading both takeoff and landing... read more

Rose Streete, Cabin Crew Member


Virginia Svilans

737 First Officer

Virginia Svilans was introduced to flying early on in her life. Coming from a family of immigrants, at a young age she would often travel back to Europe to visit family and friends. “I can remember constantly asking to see the flight deck... read more

Virginia Svilans, 737 First Officer


Ed Sims

Chief Executive Officer

To say I am humbled after reading the stories of five female WestJetters featured in Women in Aviation Week and International Women’s Day and learning of their diverse experiences in this industry would be a great understatement... read more

Ed Sims, Chief Executive Officer


Where do you see yourself? Learn more about WestJet careers.


WestJet’s 2020 commitments

Women in leadership not only bring important benefits, but they are absolutely an invaluable and irreplaceable resource in any company. In 2020, WestJet will focus on closing the gender gap on our global leadership team. By focusing on leaders, our hope is to create a diverse and inspiring work environment for all WestJetters.

Women in Leadership Program

This new program starting in 2020, facilitates the growth of up-and-coming managers and supports their development.

Leader of Leaders Program

Our new all-inclusive Leader of Leaders program will include direct mentorship from our global leadership team to foster equal opportunity and help close the gender gap at the leadership level.

Talent assessment training for leaders

We offer a variety of performance management and assessment modules to WestJet leaders in our iLead program to help them limit assumption and bias.

  • Top talent assessment centre
    WestJet plans to launch a talent assessment centre with tools and criteria to ensure evaluating top talent is consistent, fair and measurable.
    New hiring re-set with leaders
    WestJet will offer e-learning training on how to evaluate candidates and reduce bias.

Connecting women in aviation

Elevate aviation company logo
WestJet company logo

WestJet is proud to support Elevate in their mission to create a shift in the aviation industry and promote gender balance by connecting women with a network of support.


Learning centre

Select Alberta high school students will see the world of aviation through a brand-new lens, meet inspiring people, and learn about careers through mentor presentations, conversations, hands-on activities, and tours.

Cross-country tours: behind the scenes of aviation

An informative and inspirational series that connects women of all ages with current industry professionals. The tour will explore airport facilities, enable connections via first-hand stories and encourage questions – all in the spirit of connecting like-minded women.

Inspire gala

Inspire raises funds for Mentorship and Bursary programs, as well as for The Elevate Aviation Learning Centre. Every dollar raised is directly tied to providing women with the knowledge and tools required to embark on a career in aviation as well as closing the gender gap in the industry.

WestJet is proud to partner with Elevate on these impressive initiatives that empower women.