Over 17,000 girls and women discover aviation during #WOAW13
Over 17,000 girls and women discover opportunities in the air and space
industry at more than 70 events on four continents during the 3rd annual
Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week and 5,300 of them take flight in
a small aircraft for the first time.
From March 4 to March 10 2013, people across four continents – Africa, Asia, America, and Europe – celebrated the 3rd annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week organized by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide, a global not-for-profit consortium of businesses and organizations.
Studies have demonstrated that a key barrier to women’s participation in the technical fields of the air and space industry – approximately 12% overall; 5% for pilots – is the lack of awareness of the opportunities available to them.
Indeed, the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide‘s survey among the girls and women attending events found that more than 76% of them had never thought of seeking information about aviation activities before hearing about the 2013 Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week.
Held annually during the week of March 8, anniversary date of the first female pilot certificate worldwide, Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week aims to foster diversity in aviation by celebrating history, raising awareness, and sparking vocations as girls and women are introduced to aviation during female-centric events offering aviation related activities and/or discovery flights in small aircraft.
Sparking vocations it did. More than 77% of the girls and women attending said that they would consider undertaking an activity for pleasure or for a career in aviation as a result of their experience.
“My career goals were tweaked by the event, in a very exciting way!” declared Barbara, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. “I would want to work on plane design, like the body or engine,” adds Shivana, Titusville, FL, USA.
Pilots flew balloons, ultra-lights, airplanes, seaplanes, and helicopters for more than 1,500 hours to introduce over 5,300 girls and women to flying worldwide. Lora, of San Carlos, CA, USA, noted that the pilots were “warm, articulate, full of knowledge and experience and made it exciting.”
Among the girls and women who experienced flight in a small aircraft for the first time during the week, 66% of them wanted to, first and foremost, learn to fly in the future.
When asked to name the three best aspects of the event, Lora, Yellowknife, NT, Canada, responded: “Flying Flying Flying!” For Rebecca of Northampton, MA, USA, one of the many mothers who took advantage of the opportunity to introduce their daughters to aviation, the best aspect was: “Hearing my 6 year old’s voice over the headset saying “Wow!” in that perfect voice of true amazement.”
For Lindsey of Frederick, MD, USA, the highlight was: “Hearing astronaut Pam speak. That was so amazing and inspiring.” As part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the first female flight in space, retired Air Force test pilot and astronaut, Pam Melroy, was one of four accomplished guests of the space industry invited to speak.
She was joined by astronaut Chris Hadfield onboard the International Space Station, NASA scientist, Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja, and MDA Space Missions engineer, Natalie Panek. Their speeches were broadcast live over the internet and available to all free of charge. An estimated 2,500 persons viewed the presentations at events and individually.
“The grassroots enthusiasm for welcoming more women into the industry is overwhelming and growing exponentially annually. Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week is simply the biggest flying girl party on the planet,” says Mireille Goyer who launched the popular initiative in 2010 and is the President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide. “We invite government and industry to embrace the initiative with the same enthusiasm in the coming years.”
The Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week celebration includes various challenges and contests. Titles, trophies, and prizes are awarded annually. The names of winners will be announced on April 3, 2013.