In aviation, the gender gap is undeniable. Women represent only about 6 percent of the workforce, according to Women in Aviation International (WAI), a non-profit that mentors women and men in the industry.
That gap, however, is set to shrink in the future if the numbers from the WAI’s 2022 Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD) are any indication.
WAI’s 8th annual day of worldwide educational outreach took place September 24 with more than 120 events held at airports, FBOs, museums and hangars in 19 countries across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
This year, more than 16,000 girls participated in the event, according to WAI.
Participants had the chance to meet aviation role models and learn about careers and lifestyle possibilities in aviation and aerospace. The event included hands-on activities such as tours of airplanes and airports, a sectional chart treasure hunt, making paper airplanes and helicopters, and learning about aircraft engines and avionics, weather systems, and space.
This year’s GIAD received a special commemoration with the relaunch of the Aviation For Girls app. The app—created during the COVID-19 pandemic—provides year-round educational content, including digital issues of Aviation for Girls magazine, aviation and STEM activities, videos of female aviators highlighting various careers and aviation books, virtual tours of manufacturers, museums, and airports, information about WAI scholarships, and a timeline of Pioneer Hall of Fame inductees. The app has been downloaded by nearly 1,000 users in 37 countries.
In addition, WAI launched a new and free junior membership for those aged 18 and younger that has all the benefits of regular membership.
“We know that Girls in Aviation Day has been instrumental in lighting the spark of interest in aviation and aerospace where girls are introduced to all the various career possibilities in a positive and fun event that is a trademark of our WAI chapters and corporate members,” said WAI CEO Allison McKay.
“Seeing the excitement from the attendees of our Girls in Aviation Day events, we can now continue to engage them throughout the year with our Aviation for Girls App, free Junior membership, and all the WAI resources,” McKay said. “Our programs, in addition to the work of our industry partners, will finally change the face of this industry.”