I have now been flying drones professionally for over four years. I am a camera operator and shooting producer/director for TV and I have flown drones for major TV companies including the BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and various independent production companies. I have appeared on BBC 5 Live, BBC News channels, Good Morning Britain and in The Guardian as a drone industry spokesperson and expert. The past 12 months I have become a public speaker and educator. So now I feel that this is the next move for me and for a while I have tried to find the right NQE to join.
I am very excited about joining The Aerial Academy and for many years have admired the company’s ethics and focus on delivering high-quality drone training, from experienced drone pilots to those starting out in the drone industry. I am looking forward to working alongside owners Jonathan Carter and Elliot Corke and working alongside the other instructors.
Part of the reason for running this course is to share my passion to encourage more women into becoming part of the drone industry. There is the potential for a level playing field for women in the drone industry, but also realise that some women may be intimidated being the only woman on a PFCO course – so we are launching a UK first PFCO women-only course. Starting this initiative with a limited one-off course which we expect to be in high demand. We have already have had a number of women book on the course.
It will be held on 13/14th May 2019 in the Manchester/Sheffield area.
Why we’re running a women-only course
Approximate figures suggest that women only make up 3% of the UAV industry – as a company we would love to see that rise and think that this course might be the answer.
For a long time it has been known that women are not joining the ranks of professional drone pilots. Studies are underway to understand why women are not becoming professional pilots, but in the meantime we hope that this course will be received as a positive move by the drone industry.
On this course you will get the usual high standard of support from The Aerial Academy with 12 month support and guidance after the course, Ops manual creation and a dedicated pro facebook group.
Looking forward to meeting those of you who are joining me in May
The PFCO course is for anyone who wants to use their drone commercially in the UK to gain insurance and be safe legal. Please note it is still the law not to fly your drone as additional skills on the side of a paid project. If you are gaining financially for any part of a shoot you must be legal. See my PFCO Link
Way back in November 2019 I was approached by The Photography Show after appearing in the Guardian to see if I would be interested in speaking at The Photography Show and The Video Show in Birmingham. Strange how that felt like a lifetime ago and here it is just around the corner. The organisers also asked if I would be a Women Who Photo ambassador.
The WomenWhoPhoto campaign aims to inspire and celebrate women who use a camera for stills and for video. There are many more who are speaking over the 4 days and it is not just the ambassadors. There are other women speakers across all the days but some of us have chosen to be featured.
The gender imbalance in the Photography, Video, Camera operators and of course Drone Pilot’s still exist and if we can highlight this and inspire others to take up the profession or as a hobby this would be amazing.
Along with Becki Warner from Warner vision and Photographer Rebecca Douglas we have set up a female only UK based drone group. First of all I need you to share this far and wide as we want to create a nice friendly group of women who fly drones.
Because we need to connect to others like us who want to inspire others to take up flying drones. We are also looking at creating meet ups and further training opportunties.
Now I know that there has been a bit of a backlash from some of the facebook groups and forums that we posted this on. Why it is that women set up little tiny groups on their own? Don’t worry we are not men bashing, we like men as approximately half the population are men. Between us we have fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons so we are not against men. Sometimes when we ask a question we get ridiculed. I have seen it on forums where women ask a drone question and you get a few sarcastic replies all unfortunately by men as they are the majority. There are some very supportive men and they have helped me a lot. We thought we would information share, support each other as we work at our drone businesses. We haven’t ruled out the possibility of opening up the group at a later date.
Hell, I don’t even make my blog known on the UK forums, incase there is some kind of backlash and trolling. It’s not that I am super sensitive, I just don’t want to deal with what can be quite a toxic place. I know that there are a number of NQE trainers giving my blog out to help people and I am presuming some are men as the majority of people on the course are men, and they read what I have written. Yes as a collective all drone pilots professional and law abiding hobbyists it’s good to stick together, share info but unfortunately it doesn’t always feel that way.
There are what I call feminist men, like my Dad who told his little girls, girls can do anything they want, whilst showing us how diesel and petrol engines work and what the differences are. I have lived by that and to be honest when I was growing up in the late 90’s and early part of the noughties, I wasn’t aware of sexism. I just got on with it, perhaps I had a tougher skin. Perhaps I let this stuff wash over or perhaps I just wasn’t aware and I just have always carried on regardless in life.
However there has been a shift recently and I think its a lot to do with the fact that women have been making some ground up and this threatens some men. It makes the question what will happen to them, they think what work will they do? If half the work force were to be women in most professions would the men feel uncomfortable. So because of that then we have seen suppression and that means in all forms. It seems with lots of scandals coming to light that things have been going on behind closed doors. Many men and women knew about these scandals all were scared, men scared to speak out and stand up to it could jeopardise their careers and women the same. Some feeling the shame for not being strong, when actually they were being strong just by standing up all day and carrying on trying to carry the pain of what they have suffered. Yes, I am talking about the recent sex scandals.
Tuesday, was the 100th anniversary of some women getting the vote, parliament voted for it at 8pm on the 6th of February 1918, we the UK were at war. And it was only a small amount of women, you had to be over 30, own property or have been to university or be married. This meant 60% of women could not vote, including many of the women who worked in the war and whose jobs ended in peacetime.
It wasn’t for another 10 years that all women got the vote in the UK and they had to be over the age of 21. This is only 90 years ago. So that is very recent history, I do believe it is unfortunately in our female psyche for many reasons not to value ourselves. This journey had only just begun to give women more rights. It wasn’t until, 1956 that Civil service reforms in UK gave men and women who are teachers and have other government jobs the right to equal pay. We know we still have an issue with equal pay in this country. In Ireland, 1976, Irish women are finally able to own their own homes outright. Then as recent as 1982, women in the UK were allowed to spend their money in English pubs without being refused service. Yes you read that correctly 1982 and so before that you could be refused service in a pub just for being a woman. I find that extraordinary.
It was only 2017 that forward thinking Iceland as a country has made it illegal not to pay the sexes equal pay. They have been way ahead of the rest of the world for sometime. It can be argued that even if women get the same pay for job roles they still not earn the equivalent if they take time out to have children.
With all that recent history in the UK it is easy to see why women still are not equal. Not to value their skills, time and knowledge then under sell the work and services that they offer. If you find other supportive women from all walks of life lifting each other up (if you pardon the pun) why not create that group.
It is difficult for others in a majority to think of how others feel, think and behave. I am not in an ethnic minority and so I don’t know what challenges they face in getting work with in the media industry I work. I can think of the challenges I face as a woman in technology roles and then offer an empathetic understanding but I don’t know what it’s like as I am not young person from an ethnic background. That is why work forces in whatever industry should be diverse, you get a better balance of views and ways of working. We should all be respectful to each other and supportive. There are opportunties for all. Be envious or look at what others are achieving and use that to be inspired instead.
I am often asking for contributors for this blog to write about reviews, and I get lots of male volunteers and I give them space to write about their experiences, but why is it so very few women want to be featured?
They say if a woman is applying for a job she will read the job description and if she meets 100% of the criteria she will apply, if a man reads the same job description and he meets 60% of the criteria he will will apply and work out the rest when he gets the job.
Equality will only work if we get the men onside and they support women in their endeavours. I had always shied away from all female groups and asking for special opportunties, but times seem to have changed. I spoke to my fellow female pilots and they wanted this so we could share and discuss ideas related to drones. Without the mansplaining and misogyny we have been receiving on facebook groups and drone forums.
Here in 2018 there seems to be a resurgence in feminism my Mum told me in the 90s, it sort of drifted off as women were making great leaps and bounds or it felt they were. Now it seems with all the discussion around sexual predators, the centenary of some women getting the vote, the BBC salaries being shared in the public domain showing equality between the sexes. Note it won’t be just the BBC, it was because the BBC was forced to publish the pay of the stars in 2017. It will also be in every industry, company and office in the land that is effected. Equal pay is going to be hard to achieve especially if us women ourselves don’t value our skills and experience.
It feels like we are in a new wave of feminism, as we examine as a nation how much further we can go. This is the centenary of women getting the vote in the uk and just need to look at the hashtags surrounding the social media posts around the anniversary of women getting the vote #vote100 #100years #stillmarching #ourtimeisnow #thiscenturyisours and the one this post has been about #stillworktodo
Maybe Paperchase has got it right
I do feel we will be hearing more and more discussion about equality as 2018 continues. I have no idea if setting up and all female drone group is the right thing to do, it feels right and so myself and the small group will make no apology. Suffragettes broke windows and burnt down buildings to get action, the suffragists took quiet action and campaigned instead in peaceful process. All wanting the same thing. I see us more like suffragists a quiet corner where we work towards our goals in a supportive way.
Feel free to comment on this post, I would like to hear your views.
The Drone Lass
Note this is group is now called The UK Female drone collective this is due to another group with a similar name setting up their by line was for those kicked out of other groups for breaking the law! We are not those people…so added in the Female. Come join us if you want support and learn how NOT to break the law! – update 29/4/2019