Women in Aviation International is a global organization which celebrates females in an industry that is predominantly male. Throughout the last few decades as the industry has modernized, an exponential number of women have joined in, bringing all skillsets to the table, thus propelling the industry forward.
One of the largest annual events which Women in Aviation International hosts is Girls in Aviation Day. Focused towards girls 8th grade and younger, we celebrate GIAD on October 5th this year.
Led by Women in Aviation chapters throughout the world, girls spend their day learning about the industry and participating in activities directed towards their age group. They are sectioned off into groups by their grade led by adult members. This day-long event not only encourages women to join the industry through spreading the “aviation bug”, but it also celebrates the power of women impacting a male dominated world. A sample of activities include face painting, paper airplane competitions, and career booths run by a multitude of companies from the industry such as airlines and manufacturers.
Throughout history, key women have made such phenomenal impacts on the industry that the world is still reeling from the effects. Greats such as Amelia Earhart, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Bessie Coleman are some of the most well-known women in aviation for their talent, drive, and courage, smashing male constructed barriers, showing how much they have to offer. Although these individuals are the first that come to mind, they are a drop in the bucket for female aviation greats.
Eleanor Roosevelt is most known by her last name. Although her husband was president in the 1930s, she was fighting for women’s rights within the aviation industry. While the United States was at war throughout the following decade, she encouraged women to stand up for themselves, to join in the war efforts much past the stereotypical roles. Working in conjunction with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), she made public statements encouraging women to follow suit, and fight for the freedom of their country. She believed women pilots to be one of the country’s best kept secrets and most powerful forces.
As airlines crept into the lives of many Americans, stewardesses were a highly romanticized position. Throughout the harsh conditions they were forced to work through, one woman believed they deserved respect and she went to bat for all others in her position. Ada Brown was a stewardess for United Airlines during the ‘40s. She faced the disrespect firsthand and was able to join together nearly 300 women, thus forming the first stewardess union. To this day, 26 carriers across the world have flight attendants represented through the Air Line Stewardess Association (ALSA), now called the Association of Flight Attendants, thanks to Ada Brown.
On a larger scale, within the aviation/aerospace industries, women have made strides proving their skills and abilities. Sally Ride was an astronaut and physicist. This brilliant woman was the first female from the United States to travel into space. She was part of the Challenger mission in 1983. Sally continued to travel into space over the remainder of her career with NASA, working with other female pioneers such as Kathryn Sullivan who was the third woman to follow suit, but the first to perform a spacewalk.
Women have always had important roles in the growth of the aviation industry. They’re now more important than ever in the continued advancement. Associations such as Women in Aviation aims to encourage females to join the industry and celebrate their accomplishments. These organizations are successful in doing so through events such as Girls in Aviation Day. Each year, hundreds of young women are reached through this event, crafting a positive outlook for the continued influx of females who want a career in aviation. What other women in aviation inspire you? Share your inspiration with us in the comments below.