Inspiring young women to pursue aviation – a male dominated and unconventional field.
Over the last twenty years, there has been a serious push to engage girls in STEM-related programming.
While there are now more women in STEM-related fields, there remains a gender gap in various
industries including aerospace and aviation. As society has emerged from the COVID pandemic, there is an urgent need for pilots. While the number of women pilots has increased from seven to nine percent
over the past few years, that is still a marginal number. My Gold Award Project, “Girls Who Soar” will
introduce teen girls to the world of aviation and the various career paths that are possible, including
flight. “Girls Who Soar” will address the Girl Scout Motto that “girls can do anything” and create a
program that will not only inspire girls to chase their dreams but to instill the courage and confidence to
believe that can be successful in STEM-related fields, including flight.
“Girls Who Soar” is a program to advocate for the National Board of the Girl Scouts of the USA to change the safety checkpoints and allow girls to fly in a small aircraft (like Boy Scouts) and for the the creation an aviation-themed badge series for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors incorporating key components of the now-retired Girl Scout Wing Scouts program.
While women had been allowed to join the military in limited positions since World War I, serving as pilots
was not an option. During World War II, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were pivotal in training
pilots and flying support missions for the war. Yet when the war was over, women were relegated back
to the home. As commercial flying became more popular, many retired military aviators moved to the
airlines. It was almost 30 years before Emily Howell Warner became the first female pilot to be hired by a
commercial airline in 1973.
Despite this amazing accomplishment, pilots have continued to be portrayed
in the media as strong, brooding, arrogant, reckless, and male. Women are slowly
breaking the “typical pilot mode” but will need to continue to advocate for young women that flight is
possible. This remains difficult as many youth mentor organizations shy away from difficult topics like
flight because they are uncomfortable with the content or do not have access to easily relatable
resources regarding aviation.