Women have been pioneering Aviation since it's first female aviator ever, Raymonde de Larcohe, a french women who began building airplanes in the 1900's and received her license in 1910. From then on, hundreds of women felt compelled to travel the skies, and we watched heroic aviators break the chains such as Harriet Quimby, Bessie Coleman, the wild and wacky "Pancho" Barnes, and then of course America's beloved Amelia Earhart. Still to this day, women only make up 6.84% of the total number of Pilot's.
It's no secret that Women have been rising to the occasion more and more to pursue careers in male dominated industries. In fact, we've seen the fight for equality in the work fields demonstrated strongly through the #MeToo Movement and Time's Up Campaign to surface the issues and obstacles that women face in the day to day workplace. The efforts have proven a large increase in gender equality, but we still see a large under-representation of women in the aviation field.
How can we break the barriers to encourage more women pilots? Well, we can first cut the perception out that flying is only something male's excel at. Just because males make up the other 93.16% of Pilots, does not mean that it's something they are naturally better at. It's simply, we just don't have enough females interested or invested in learning how to fly yet! There are many women currently dominating the skies, showing off their precision flying skills and paving the way for other motivated women to follow. Such women as Svetlana Kapanina, Julia Clark (whom I've met & is a sweetheart) and Patty Wagstaff all show that Women can kick butt in the skies, and do it better than most males who hold a license!
A big ground breaker is having a training environment where women can feel comfortable, supported and encouraged to start and finish their Flying journey. Having a positive social support from your peers and instructors can make it or break it for some, so cutting out that sexism attitude and supporting the growth for brave, pioneering women is the training grounds for the expansion of Women Aviators.
I encourage all fellow Aviators to reach out and support any woman that may seem interested in the taste of flight. Take them for a flight, bring them to the airport, or better yet, take them to Air Ventures RI!!
It only takes one person, or one experience to change someones life! You never know if your motivational words or flight experience could be that very push to drive a passionate woman to excel at something she might not have even realized she could do!
The push is not because women can do it better, or we need more women for any particular reason. The push is to break the stigma that we still face today. It's to combine the hearts and minds of people who share the same passion and joy. If you remember your first flight, and the abundance of wonderful emotions that waved over you harder than wake turbulence can affect a Cherokee, then imagine being apart of someone's big dream!
Blue Skies My Friends!