Did you know that only 5% of all pilots are women, and less than 2% of aircraft mechanics are women? Women In Aviation International (WAI) aims to change that. WAI is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in aviation career fields. One of the organization’s top priorities is encouraging young women to consider aviation as a career.
Traditionally a male-dominated field, aviation is a career path that women often don’t consider unless they’ve been previously exposed to it, such as having a parent who is a pilot. Since so few girls are exposed to aviation as a potential career opportunity, they usually have a different career path in mind by the time they reach their late teens. “Aviation tends to be family-oriented,” explains Laura O’Brien, President of the St. Louis Chapter of WAI. “The culture is usually something that you’re brought into in some way. Very few people stumble onto it themselves, and we want to help change that.”
One of the ways that WAI aims to narrow the gender gap in aviation is by exposing girls to career opportunities in the field at a young age. WAI’s annual Girls In Aviation Day provides girls ages 11-16 opportunities to learn about aviation-related careers through hands-on activities and demonstrations from aviation professionals. Over 74 WAI chapters around the world hosted local Girls in Aviation events this year, drawing over 9,700 attendees.
At this year’s event in St. Louis, over 100 local girls learned about aviation career opportunities with over 20 organizations, including Boeing, the Air Force, and Trans States. One of the event’s most inspiring guests was 13-year-old student pilot, Olivia Fabisoff.
Private aircraft company JetLinx graciously allowed their ramp to be used for static aircraft displays, allowing the participants the opportunity to see private jets and Medevac helicopters up close.
Trans States hosted a luncheon for participants at our corporate headquarters in St. Louis, where pilots and flight attendants were on hand to talk about what their jobs are like and how they got to where they are today.
Be sure to save the date for next year’s Girls in Aviation Day on October 13, 2018! Click here to find out how you can get involved.