|The Sky's No Limit - Girls Fly Too!
Not that long ago, someone asked if I had heard of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. I hadn't, so I checked out the link I was given: http://www.womenofaviationweek.org
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the initiative is being run by a Canadian, and fellow Ninety-Nine! The Ninety-Nines, for those who don't know, is an international organization of women pilots and I am a member.
Mireille Goyer was spurred into action after the centennial of the first woman pilot to be licensed in the world (March 8, 1910), came and went without notice. You can read about her here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymonde_de_Laroche As you browse the WOAW website, remind yourself often that one woman's passion to make a change, and make a difference is the driving force behind all you see. Mireille has inspired and motivated many women to remember our roots, examine the persisting shortage of women in aviation and to participate in this worldwide initiative to increase women's awareness of this exciting place to be!
Those of us in professional aviation are usually acutely aware of how rare we are, and it's fair to say that most of us do our best to mentor and support those around us. But whatever we're doing isn't enough, because the number of professional women pilots in both Canada and the US remains steady at 5-6%. In other countries, and other trades the number is even lower. Transport Canada doesn't publish numbers for Aircraft Engineers, but the FAA does and the numbers indicate only 2% of licensed engineers are women. From personal experience, working across Canada as a bush pilot for the past 17 years, female engineers are few and far between and I'd say our numbers are at least that low. A representative of the Canadian Forces stated that the female representation of the average Air Force unit is only 3% - clearly the shortage of women is across the board.
On March 5-11, 2012 - across the world, and incorporating the anniversary of the first ever licensed woman pilot, and International Women's Day - is Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. The goal is for women everywhere to set up an event - big or small - and introduce women to any aspect of aviation.
My WOAW event in Yellowknife consists of challenging the Fly It Forward title for Most Female Friendly Airport in the World. You can read about how to earn this title on the WOAW website. The invitations have gone out through the schools, on the airwaves and by word of mouth - my goal is to fly 500 girls by helicopter in one day! The objective of the whole event is education and outreach. I want to inspire and excite the girls attention and interest with the free helicopter ride, paid for by local sponsors, but once there the girls will meet a powerful cadre of women leaders, including Tracy Medve, President of Canadian North. On hand will also be a static display of aircraft and crews for the girls and their families to interact with. Soon I will be able to release the information regarding Canadian Forces involvement - they are working hard to supply the aircraft, crews and VIP I have requested. Anyone who is in Yellowknife on that day is welcome to attend - girls between the ages of 8-19 must register in advance for a free helicopter ride as well as provide a signed parental consent form available on the event website.
You can read about my Yellowknife, Northwest Territories event here: http://www.girlsfly2.ca I encourage any woman involved in aviation anywhere in the world to do us all proud and arrange an event - big or small - to participate in Women of Aviation Worldwide Week!
If anyone is in Yellowknife and would like to volunteer their time on Saturday March 10, please pm me!