The week is designed to raise awareness of aviation opportunities available to girls of all ages while celebrating the accomplishments of past and present women of aviation.
We invite anyone who wishes to foster gender balance in aviation to plan activities during the week to honor women’s existing contributions to aviation as well as to engage and introduce girls and women to the opportunities that aviation offers.
Activities such as flying events, factory and school open door events, museum special programs, and much more are organized to showcase today’s women of aviation as well as extend a warm welcome to female newcomers.
Multiple challenges and contests such as the Fly It ForwardChallenge, the First to Solo™ Challenge, the Pink Paper Plane Challenge™ add fun and rewards to the overall experience.
Women of Aviation Worldwide Week upcoming dates:
- March 5-11, 2018
- March 4-10, 2019
- March 2-8, 2020
Get involved and celebrate!
Participating in the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week celebrations is opened to anyone who wishes to foster gender balance in aviation, regardless of gender, affiliation, or geographical location.
The initiative is organized by the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW), a global alliance of businesses and organizations dedicated to fostering gender balance in the air and space industry.
To connect with other like-minded individuals, register to become a member of our exclusive online community. It is free!
Anyone, anywhere in the world, who believes that women do belong in aviation and wants to help foster a gender balance industry is invited to join us and make a difference in their own community.
If few women are involved in aviation in your area, you are not alone in that situation. As an example, in countries with a higher percentage of women pilots, less than 1 woman in 4,000 is a pilot.
Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week upcoming dates:
- March 5-11, 2018
- March 4-10, 2019
- March 2-8, 2020
Join us to celebrate!
It started in 1784, when only 8 months after the first manned balloon flight, Count Jean-Baptiste de Laurencin got cold feet and gave his spot for a balloon flight to Marie Élisabeth Thible, a French opera singer. She dressed as a Roman goddess and sang “La Belle Arsène”, a celebrated opera of the time, as the balloon ascended to 1500 meters. She is was the first woman ever to fly.
A few years later, riding along was not good enough for women anymore.
In 1798, Jeanne Labrosse was the first woman to fly solo in an aircraft and, in June 1903, Aida de Acosta was the first woman to fly a powered aircraft, a dirigible designed by her friend, Alberto Santos-Dumont. It is no surprise that just a few years after the airplane was invented, women were taking on the new challenge. On March 8 1910, Raymonde de Laroche, an experienced French balloonist became the first woman to earn a pilot license.
Marie Marvingt of France designed one of the first air ambulances, dedicated her life to making air ambulance services a reality, and created the original flight nurse training program. Bessica Medlar Raiche of the United States built her own airplane which she flew solo on September 16, 1910. She is credited for being the first woman to fly an airplane solo on the American continent. In 1913, in addition to becoming the first woman to hold a pilot license in Russia two years earlier, Lidia Zvereva owned and ran an airplane assembly plant with her husband. Since these early times, women have continued to contribute to the aviation industry.
However, today, the Women of Aviation continue to be a tiny minority (read “5 decades of women pilots in the U.S. How did we do?“). While the percentage of female doctors, female lawyers, and police women went from nonexistent 100 years ago to around 25% today, the percentage of women involved in aviation has remained steadily low (around 5-6%). As a result, the common perception among girls of all ages is that aviation is for men only.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyday, women are enjoying flying for the fun of it or for a career. More and more women are becoming Air Traffic Controllers. Others become aircraft mechanics or aerospace engineers.
Whether you want to be part of the welcoming committee or you are interested in discovering what aviation has to offer to women, don’t hesitate, join us.
In late 2009, Mireille Goyer, an airline pilot and aviation educator, conducted a search for planned events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first female pilot license worldwide earned by Raymonde de Laroche on March 8, 1910. To her dismay, she found none.
Determined to not let this important milestone for female pilots go unnoticed and uncelebrated, Goyer launched a worldwide campaign. Her goal was to honor the female aviation pioneers of 1910 by fulfilling their dream to see more women involved.
She encouraged pilots from around the world to “Fly It Forward®” (i.e., introduce a girl or a woman to flying). As a result, over 1,600 girls and women discovered the joys of flying in thirty six countries on four continents throughout 2010.
Understanding that the limited number of female pilots explained in part the Centennial celebration 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 2011 to continue the outreach effort born during the centennial celebration.
The initiative aims to foster gender balance in the air and space industry. It celebrates women’s historical contributions, raises awareness of aviation’s opportunities for girls and women, and sparks vocations among the female population by introducing girls and women to aviation thanks to industry-wide collaboration.
As of March 2017, 193,000 have directly participated in the annual celebrations and 39,130 documented Fly It Forward® flights have been granted to girls and women on five continents. Significant media coverage in association with the week’s activities has allowed many more to become aware that this exciting industry is for women too.
Mireille Goyer is the recipient of the following awards: