How Women Of Aviation Week was founded
Women were not on aviation’s radar in 2009
In late 2009, Mireille Goyer, an airline-rated pilot and aviation educator, conducted a search for planned events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the world’s first female pilot license issued to Raymonde de Laroche on March 8, 1910. To her dismay, she found none.
The first Fly It Forward® Challenge
Determined to not let this important milestone for female pilots go unnoticed, Goyer launched a worldwide campaign. Her goal was to honor the female aviation pioneers of 1910 by working towards fulfill their dream to see more women involved.
She encouraged pilots from around the world to Fly It Forward® (i.e., introduce a woman or a girl to flying in a small aircraft). Using her own money, Goyer offered world titles and awards for the pilots and airports introducing the most women and girls to flight. As a result, more than 1,600 women and girls discovered the joys of flying in thirty six countries on four continents.
Lines of women and girls waiting for a chance to experience aviation, hands-on, plus hundreds of photos of their smiles got the public’s attention. As a result, an industry previously content to dismiss women as “not interested” was forced to examine its attitude towards women outreach and inclusion.
An annual Week to reflect and change the face of aviation
Understanding that the limited number of female pilots explained in part the Centennial oversight and that a key barrier to women’s participation in the air and space industry is the common perception that the field is ‘for men’, Goyer launched the annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative in late 2010 to continue the successful global outreach effort.
As of April 2021, 420 000 women and girls have discovered aviation, hands-on, as part of the Week’s celebration. 69 738 experienced a Fly It Forward® flight. Significant media coverage in association with the week’s activities extended the reach to millions more.
Many associations and corporations have joined the movement. Others launched initiatives based on Goyer’s innovative and successful female outreach approach.
Mireille Goyer received the following awards for her initiatives:
- 2019 – Inspirational Role Model Award – Finalist – International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- 2012 – Award of Inspiration – Winner – The Ninety-Nines
- 2012 – President’s Award – Winner – Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA)
- 2011 – Let’s Go Flying Award – Winner – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)