CNN’s Take On Southwest Pilot Heroine

by | Apr 23, 2018 | Benjamin Radford, Gender Issues, Media Literacy, News | 0 comments

I wasn’t “surprised” that the Southwest hero pilot is a woman, but I suppose many people might be. This CNN analyst claims it’s because of the images of hero pilots in movies.


But if people are indeed surprised to discover that the pilot is a woman, it has more to do with statistics than sexism. It’s not so much that the public assumes that women can’t be competent and courageous, but instead that only about 6% of commercial airline pilots are female. Since 94% of pilots are men, assuming that the pilot of any given flight—whether hero or heel—is probably a man is a reasonable and valid statistical inference, not a sign of movie misinformation or gender bias. There’s unfortunately plenty of sexism in the media, but I’m not sure this is a good example…


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