[Source: WOAW website]: “Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week is held during the week of March 8 (March 3-9,2014), the anniversary day of the first female pilot licence worldwide earned by Raymonde de Laroche on March 8 1910 and International Women’s Day. The aviation industry celebrates this special week for women by showcasing its female members and extending a warm welcome to newcomers during Women of Aviation Worldwide Week…International events taking place worldwide. Countries participating this year: USA, France, Ireland, Greece, Australia, Canada, South Africa.”
Women of Aviation Week was founded by Mireille Goyer. “In late 2009 Mireille searched for planned events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first female pilot license (certificate) worldwide earned by Raymonde de Laroche on March 8, 1910. To her dismay, she found none. Determined to not let this important milestone for women pilots go unnoticed and uncelebrated, she launched a worldwide campaign and encouraged pilots to “Fly It Forward” (i.e., introduce a girl or a woman to flying) to honor the female aviation pioneers of 1910. As a result, over 1,600 girls and women discovered the joys of flying in thirty six countries on four continents.
Realizing that the small number of women pilots partly explained the Centennial oversight and that the main barrier to women’s participation to the air and space industry is the perception that the field is reserved to men, Mireille launched the annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative in 2011.
Since Mireille started encouraging pilots to “Fly It Forward” in early 2010, thousands of girls and women have experienced the joy of flying in a small aircraft for the first time. Significant use of media in association with the week’s activities has allowed many more to become aware that women have contributed to the industry since its beginnings and that this exciting industry is for women too.”
The Mission: “The outreach initiative aims to foster diversity in aviation by celebrating women’s history, raising awareness of aviation’s opportunities among girls and women, and sparking vocations by introducing girls and women to aviation through industry-wide collaboration.”
“The Women of Aviation Worldwide Week Community provides a meeting area for like minded people to make new friends, keep
in touch with old ones, share ideas, work on common projects and support participants in their endeavors. We encourage anyone involved in aviation to honor the Women of Aviation of the past and the present as well as to reach out and introduce girls and women to the opportunities that aviation has to offer.”
“Whether you have been involved in aviation most of your life or you are taking the first steps to discover this exciting field, if you share this belief and have a can-do attitude, please join us.”
“No membership is required to become a part of this exciting community. The only requirement is a personal commitment to help achieve the goals of the community.”
What: “Activities such as flying events, factory and school open door events, museum special programs, photo contests, and flight challenges are organized to showcase today’s women of aviation as well as extend a warm welcome to newcomers. View Women of Aviation Worldwide Week’s contests and the planned events.”
Fly it Forward Challenge: “Salute the girls and women in your life that inspired you and/or supported you. Take a non-pilot
girl or woman on a short flight to introduce her to the joys of flying. Together, let’s welcome a record number of girls and women to flying during Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. One flight, one community at a time. Worldwide.”
A trophy for the winner, plaques for the runner ups, and various prizes will be awarded in the following categories:
- 2014 ‘Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport Worldwide’ – airport with most non-pilot girls and women introduced to flying from March 3 to March 9 2014
- 2014 ‘Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Training Center Worldwide’ – training center with most non-pilot girls and women introduced to flying from March 3 to March 9 2014
- 2014 ‘Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide’ – female pilot who completes the most flights (number of female passengers divided by number of passenger seats for the aircraft used) during daylight hours to introduce girls and women to flying from March 3 to March 9 2014
- 2014 ‘Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide’ – male pilot who completes the most flights (number of female passengers divided by number of passenger seats for the aircraft used) during daylight hours to introduce girls and women to flying from March 3 to March 9 2014
First-to-Solo Challenge: Be the first to solo worldwide and win the grand prize, $1,500 USD towards flight training offered by Sennheiser. (Last year’s winner photo below.)
Art Contest: “A picture is worth a thousand words. Your picture could allow you to win the official embroidered all-season Women Of Aviation jacket (a $99.99 USD value)! Draw, paint, or illustrate. The theme is: “Aerobatic flight”. You can use any media or illustration software (no photos) to describe how your first flight felt or how you imagine your first flight will feel. Scan your artwork or send us the digital file (high resolution).
Photo Contest: “Send us your best photographs of “Female aerobatic pilots” and you could win the official embroidered all-season Women Of Aviation jacket (a $99.99 USD value)!”
Event Organizer Contest: Win 1000 CAD in training. iWOAW and its member-partners want to celebrate and reward those who go out of their way to help and motivate others. Our organizer contest is designed to reward the most outstanding organizers.
International events taking place worldwide. Countries participating this year: USA, France, Ireland, Greece, Australia, Canada, South Africa.
Early History of Women in Aviation
“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.
- “In 1798, Jeanne Labrosse was the first woman to fly solo in an aircraft.”
- “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.” (Photo below)
- “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.”
“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%).”
Photos courtesy of Women of Aviation Week Website