the stories of a drone developer, a soccer coach, and a kindergarten teacher

the stories of a drone developer, a soccer coach, and a kindergarten teacher


Drone developer Valery Borovyk: Success in flying drones is in no way related to gender

According to the survey of the sociological group “Rating”, almost 60% of Ukrainians divide professions into purely male and purely female professions. The distribution of men and women in various specialties is indeed uneven. For example, the STEM industries (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are still predominantly male. Thus, in Ukraine, only 29% of university graduates in STEM specialties are women.

One of the STEM professions that is relevant in the realities of a full-scale war is a drone operator. As it turned out, there are very few women among them. This was noted by Valery Borovyk, the developer of Ukrainian UAVs. He was approached by a British man through mutual acquaintances who wanted to support female drone pilots and was looking for such girls in Ukraine. Valery tried to help him, but could not find anyone.

“I analyzed the current schools that teach drone piloting. It turned out that 90-95% of the students there are men. So the idea arose: why don’t we train a few girls ourselves who could pilot drones and perform aerial reconnaissance or other combat missions? At that time, the battles for Kyiv continued, and many women wanted to be useful in the army, but did not know where to direct their energy. The demand for drones was growing, and there was a shortage of operators,” recalls Valery Borovyk.

Initially, Valery’s team trained one girl, but the Brit never came. However, Borovyk decided to continue and created the “Pilotes of Ukraine” school on a permanent basis. Over a year and a half, several dozen women have completed the training, some of whom use the acquired skills at the front, and some become instructors for the next students.

According to Valery, in the women’s group, the girls feel more relaxed – for example, they do not hesitate to ask questions if something does not work out the first time. Whereas in mixed groups there are more fears of “showing yourself as a loser”. In addition, some graduates did not dare to complete their studies for a long time, and the announcement of the pilot school became an incentive for them to start in a comfortable environment.

“Success in piloting drones is in no way related to gender. Both among women and among men, there are people who cannot do it – they confuse directions in space, are too nervous. And there are those who quickly master everything. Girls often they have even better motor skills and respond more sensitively to tactility on the control panel. The main thing is to believe in their own strength, and we teach everything else,” explains Valery Borovyk.

He emphasizes that in the conditions of a protracted war, the contribution of every person who has the desire to defend the state is valuable. There are many frontline tasks that women can physically perform, and drone piloting is one of them. Therefore, the goal of the pilot school is to give motivated girls the appropriate skills.

“And the global goal is to ensure that every Ukrainian woman, even a civilian, knows how to fly a drone. After all, if the enemy suddenly approaches her home, she will feel more confident and will be able, for example, to coordinate artillery or drop a “gift” on her head. Here we can take an example from Israel, where all citizens undergo military training,” Valery Borovyk notes.

For civilian women, studying at a pilot school costs UAH 9,000 – thanks to this contribution, military servicewomen study for free. Recruitment for new groups is ongoing, all interested parties can sign up for classes on the project’s Facebook page.


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