Women Aviators in the Spotlight

From coast to coast, the aviation industry and advocacy groups promoted initiatives to attract more women to aviation as the lead-up to International Women’s Day on Sunday. Women of Aviation Worldwide held a series of Fly It Forward events across the country, offering free flights to women and girls who had never been in small planes before. That grass roots organization is celebrating its 10th year of advocacy to expose women to the industry while addressing underlying cultural and regulatory obstacles to female participation in aviation. Since then, the movement has grown to encompass industry and aviation groups sponsoring their own events.

Air Canada gave away its first set of four Captain Judy Cameron Scholarships to coincide with the week. Future commercial pilots Urooj Ali, Rebecca Beylerian, Yasna Taieb and Olivia White each received $5,000 to put toward their training. The award is named in honour of Air Canada’s first female pilot who started with the carrier in 1979 and retired as a senior Boeing 777 captain a few years ago. Both Air Canada and WestJet operated all-female flights during the week and Nav Canada coordinated to ensure female controllers were guiding them.