Leading the shift to a gender balanced air & space industry
“In nature, the sky comes in all colors. Let’s add some pink in aviation.”
Mireille Goyer – iWOAW Founder & President
The Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) – a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Montreal, Canada – leads an industry alliance counting more than 10,000 industry professionals and enthusiasts plus nearly 600 for profit and nonprofit organizations representing all sectors of the industry in 49 countries on 5 continents.
The group is dedicated to fostering gender balance thus, growth, in the air and space industry. By studying and addressing the behaviors and attitudes that effectively exclude women, iWOAW has established a proven track record of developing creative, innovative, and engaging initiatives that change perceptions, motivate action, and deliver results.
Its multi-pronged approach to gender balance advancement features a blend of outreach, education, and advocacy designed to steer women towards the industry then steer them towards success. Per bylaws stipulation, iWOAW is directed by an all-volunteer international and gender balanced Board of Directors.
Mission, Vision and Core Values
To foster gender balance in the air and space industry through outreach, education, and advocacy.
- To celebrate the contributions and achievements of past and current women of the air and space industry around the world.
- To promote the air and space industry among the female population; and to change the attitudes and behaviors that lead to women’s exclusion.
- To develop programs which provide girls and women an opportunity to become empowered, motivated, and capable of succeeding in the air and space industry as well as programs to facilitate the inclusion, well being, and success of women in the industry.
- To collaborate with, and educationally support, other organizations.
We will lead the shift to a more gender balanced air and space industry where men and women will thrive in harmony and parity.
- Human rights
Many associations and corporations have joined the movement. Others launched initiatives modeled on Goyer’s innovative and successful female outreach approach.
After earning a DEUG in Math-Physics at the Université de Poitiers, France, Mireille Goyer moved to the United States, to study Computer Graphic Design at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Upon graduation, she started her professional career as a corporate communication consultant, producing multimedia presentations for large live corporate events in North America and Europe.
Soon thereafter, Goyer began to learn to fly for pleasure. Her new hobby quickly turned into a passion and led her to earn a commercial pilot certificate promptly followed by ground and flight instructor certificates. Goyer began to develop multimedia pilot training programs and founded her first corporation headquartered in France with a branch in the United States in the mid 1990’s.
Goyer moved to Canada, in 2005 and continued to mass educate by developing courses. Goyer has flown several thousand hours in single and multi-engine airplanes in multiple countries and holds U.S. and Canadian Airline Transport Pilot licences.
She writes a column for Canadian Aviator magazine and volunteers as an FAA Safety Team Representative. As an engaged and dedicated female pilot, Goyer was stunned to discover that no one had planned a celebration for the centennial of the first female pilot license worldwide in 2010.
She launched a grassroots initiative, asking pilots worldwide to ‘Fly It Forward®‘ as a salute to the first aviatrices. That initiative morphed into the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative in 2011. Both initiatives are responsible for thousands girls and women discovering aviation and flight in a small aircraft in 49 countries on 5 continents.
Goyer has received several national and international awards for her efforts. She is the founder of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW). Mireille Goyer’s awards:
- 2019 – Inspirational Role Model Award – Finalist – International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- 2012 – Award of Inspiration – Winner – The Ninety-Nines
- 2012 – President’s Award – Winner – Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA)
- 2011 – Let’s Go Flying Award – Winner – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
Women were not on aviation’s radar in 2009
In late 2009, Mireille Goyer, an airline-rated pilot and aviation educator, conducted a search for planned events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the world’s first female pilot license issued to Raymonde de Laroche on March 8, 1910.
To her dismay, she found none.
The first Fly It Forward® Challenge
Determined to not let this important milestone for female pilots go unnoticed, Goyer launched a worldwide campaign. Her goal was to honor the female aviation pioneers of 1910 by working towards fulfill their dream to see more women involved.
She encouraged pilots from around the world to Fly It Forward® (i.e., introduce a woman or a girl to flying in a small aircraft). Using her own money, Goyer offered world titles and awards for the pilots and airports introducing the most women and girls to flight. As a result, more than 1,600 women and girls discovered the joys of flying in thirty six countries on four continents.
Lines of women and girls waiting for a chance to experience aviation, hands-on, plus hundreds of photos of their smiles got the public’s attention. As a result, an industry previously content to dismiss women as “not interested” was forced to examine its attitude towards women outreach and inclusion.
An annual Week to reflect and change the face of aviation
Understanding that the limited number of female pilots explained in part the Centennial oversight and that a key barrier to women’s participation in the air and space industry is the common perception that the field is ‘for men’, Goyer launched the annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative in late 2010 to continue the successful global outreach effort.
As of March 2020, 390 000 women and girls have discovered aviation, hands-on, as part of the Week’s celebration. 68 510 experienced a Fly It Forward® flight. Significant media coverage in association with the week’s activities extended the reach to millions more.