A Chick in the Cockpit Discussion Questions
1. Could this story have happened fifty years ago? What is your view on feminism and how has it changed through each of your own life phases?
2. Is the title, A Chick in the Cockpit, sexist or offensive to you? Why? Can you separate your own beliefs from what society has taught you?
3. There are certain industries that simply cannot be conducive to raising children/having family life. What other careers take parents away from home and what solutions are there to an absent parent?
4. Are you afraid to fly? Why or why not? What is your worst/best aviation experience?
5. Have you ever wanted to be a pilot? If you didn’t follow through, what held you back?
6. Have your views or thoughts on aviation changed after reading this story?
7. Do you use checklists at work, at home, anywhere in your life?
8. Have you ever experienced sexual harassment or discrimination? How is it different from the last generation?
9. Erika uses an example of swearing in the cockpit to “talk like a man.” Do women swear more now to fit into the man’s world? Are we desensitized to it?
10. Erika loses one of her mentors and several friends in aviation accidents, but because of her mentor, she continues training. Have you ever had a mentor? How have mentors changed your life and why aren’t there more?
11. Have women changed to blend into corporate America or has corporate America changed to allow women in? Do women lead or still just strive to blend in?
12. In A Chick in the Cockpit, Erika mentions being adopted and her belief that core character is set at birth. How does your character affect life choices and do you believe it is set at birth? How do life choices affect character and vice versa?
13. Like most of us, Erika had to spend some time working terrible jobs. What’s the worst job you’ve had and what did you learn from it?
14. Erika never considers that her new female boss would ban her from the cockpit for being a woman. Have you ever been discriminated against based on gender by someone of the same gender?
15. How well do you think you know the opposite sex, and how did you gather that knowledge?
16. How have the roles of men and women changed during the last fifty years and is it a natural change or does it feel forced? Who or what is forcing it?
17. Why is there more divorce in our society now than the last generation? Are couples/families more or less “happy” that the last generation? What do you attribute that to?
18. Did Erika fit your image of an abused woman? Have you or someone you know been involved in a domestic abuse situation? Give examples of abuse, besides obvious physical damage. What would you have done differently to get out?
19. Faced with the probability of divorce while approaching the end of her childbearing years, Erika conceived a child on purpose. Do you agree or disagree with this choice?
20. Do you know your local laws on domestic abuse and what actions warrant arrest?
21. What can we do, as a culture, to strengthen marriage and curb abuse?
22. What past influences are shaping Erika’s actions in the story?
23. What gives you serenity and can you find it even though you are alone? Are you only happy when in a relationship? What does our society teach us about happiness?
24. Now that an entire generation has lived through the post Gloria Steinem era, are we better or worse off now as an individual, a family, a child, an employee, a nation. How much of that status is based on the changing roles of women? How can we do better?
25. If you are in a book club, why? Would you have been willing to help Erika like the Book Club Warriors were willing to help her?
26. Has our society created a collaborative environment for women to work together, or compete against each other, and how does that affect our society as a whole?
27. Were there any moments where you agreed or disagreed with Erika’s choices? What would you have done differently?
28. What would you do for your children?
Did your opinion of the book change as you read it? How did you experience the book?
Excerpted from "A Chick in the Cockpit: My Life Up in the Air" by Erika Armstrong. Copyright © 0 by Erika Armstrong. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.