APEX Insight: Women in Aviation International factions across the country will be hosting the fifth annual Girls in Aviation Day tomorrow, in hopes of showing young girls that gender isn’t a constraint in the aviation industry.
“To every little girl who dreams big: Yes, you can be anything you want.” We’ve heard different iterations of presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s feminist statement time and time again and, yet, it still needs to be said – by world leaders and industry heavyweights alike.
Tomorrow’s Girls in Aviation Day, the junior offshoot of Women in Aviation International (WIA), was created to get that message across – to unite young girls with like-minded peers and industry veterans who can provide insight into a field that is becoming increasingly diverse. Nationwide events will be held by WIA chapters across the country and by some of the organization’s corporate partners, which include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue and United Airlines. Participants will engage in activities like flight simulations, aircraft displays, glider competitions, airport design practice, flight itinerary planning and much more.
United will be hosting events at both its Chicago and San Francisco hubs, where girls can benefit from discussions with women in leadership positions that they hope to someday occupy. At Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the carrier will be holding a Q&A session with United employees as well as hosting a tour of five different operational groups: Flight Operations, In-Flight Services, Operations Control Center, Customer Service and Ramp Services.
On the West Cost, aspiring AvGeeks aged 12 to 18 years old can tour operations at the carrier’s bustling San Francisco International Airport hub, while gaining real-time experience working alongside airport personnel: Girls will be able to assist customer service agents as they board passengers onto a flight, observe ramp agents as they operate machinery and handle baggage and learn how maintenance technicians ensure they are ready for whatever obstacle comes their way.
“There is not one thing in the aviation world that a woman can’t do. Not one thing.” —Joanne Borg, United
In anticipation of tomorrow’s festivities, United Airlines has released promotional material that celebrates women thriving in a historically male-dominated industry, including the story of United pilot Radha Bruckner and a video featuring female aviation professionals from across United. “I would tell everybody that if you put your mind to something you can do it. There is not one thing in the aviation world that a woman can’t do. Not one thing,” says Joanne Borg, manager of United’s Technical Operations at SFO, who appears in the video.
Despite the headway being made in the industry – through initiatives such as WAI and its Girls in Aviation event – there remain strides to be taken. “[The aviation industry] is more diverse than it ever has been, and I am so inspired and encouraged by how we continue to push that and really be trailblazers in that space,” says Sharon Grant, VP of United’s Customer Contact Center.