Dear Kid,

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the crash of the Germanwings airplane in which 150 people were killed. No question, it’s a terrible tragedy and We the Public very much want the big WHY question answered.

The media has been reporting every real, hypothetical, and speculative aspect of the story. And We the Public have gobbled up every morsel of actual news and every droplet of idle speculation and commentary.

What I’ve found most interesting is that in all the reports I’ve heard when people talk about pilots in general, they talk about them as all being male.

I (sort of) get it. The majority of commercial pilots are still men. But there are plenty of women winging through the friendly skies (and you know one of them).

And yet when the media interviews a Random Traveler about their opinion (it’s not news, it’s not relevant, but it fills airtime), and Random Traveler (a woman) says, “I always want to interview my pilot. I want to know if he had a fight with his wife. I want to know if his dog died…” I find it jarring.

I know that “he” is the gender neutral in the English language, and I’m quite comfortable with that—but I’m pretty sure Random Traveler didn’t mean it that way.

I saw our friend the pilot this morning and she assures me that the piloting industry is not a particularly friendly place for women and the percentage of women pilots hasn’t changed in decades.

We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

Sending our condolences and heartfelt sympathies to all those whose lives were touched by the crash.

Love, Mom