“The cockpit is no place for a woman”: Female pilot gets sexist note from passenger

After subjecting oneself to the modern miracle of air travel, most passengers give thanks to their god and/or the pilot who safely got them to their destination.

But not David in seat 12E, who flew on a WestJet flight from Calgary to Victoria this weekend. He passive aggressively left this note on his seat for Capt. Carey Smith Steacy:

napkin with sexist note from passenger to female pilot

Steacy posted the picture of the napkin to her Facebook page and thanked David for his note: “I respectfully disagree with your opinion that the ‘cockpit,’ (we now call it the flight deck as no cocks are required), is no place for a lady. In fact, there are no places that are not for ladies anymore.” (Apparently, David also didn’t get the memo that there are no places where you can be publicly bigoted and not risk ending up on social media anymore.)

While Steacy and her colleagues were shocked someone was so blatantly sexist, she also noted that “almost every day people I find are a little bit surprised,” attributing that to the fact that women are still under-represented in flight schools. “Either it’s because they don’t think they can or they have been told that it’s not for women or that they can’t do it. And I just hope that that mindset can change, like it has in a lot of professions.”

Indeed, WestJet says that it has 1,118 male pilots and 58 female pilots. So maybe enroll in flight school, ladies–in David’s honor, of course.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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