Women of Aviation Week Worldwide involved 76,000 women in 316 sanctioned events in 49 countries. The week, the brainchild of pilot, educator and Canadian Aviator columnist Mireille Goyer, was the 10th anniversary edition and participation was up 30 percent over last year. The week, held this year from March 2-8, coincides with International Women’s Day and the anniversary of Raymonde de Laroche becoming the first woman to get a pilot licence in 1910. “10 years ago, there were no widespread gender-specific efforts to attract women and girls into the industry,” said Goyer. “Today, the Week has become the largest industry-wide effort to introduce women and girls to the industry’s opportunities.”
One of the major features of the week is the Fly It Forward effort in which pilots and aircraft operators donate their time and planes to give girls and women their first flights in small aircraft. This year 4,786 girls and women were flown by volunteers and another 2,459 went to their local flight schools for often-discounted discovery flights. The first of those to solo an airplane will win a $10,000 flight scholarship. Several airlines organized all-female crewed flights and other aerospace companies held events or took part in social media campaigns. “It is truly humbling to know that my little idea has made possible for so many women and girls to consider and enjoy rewarding careers in the air and space industry,” said Goyer.