Fostering gender balance in the air and space industry – changing the face of aviation
The Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) is an independent non-profit business alliance established to eliminate the gender misbalance that is engrained in the air and space industry since its beginning and is mostly unchallenged despite being the most striking issue in today’s aviation population composition and growth pattern as well as erase the attitudes and behaviors that lead to women’s effective exclusion.
We are an association of pro-women industry stakeholders that develops breakthrough and effective initiatives in response to reliable study findings and leads a growing influential group of 10,000 aviation enthusiasts in 42 countries on 5 continents that has motivated 140,000 girls and women of all ages to discover industry careers and hobbies, hands-on, and led 30,074 of them to experience a Fly It Forward® introductory flight.
Being the industry’s leading organization in gender balance advancement, iWOAW recognizes the prime issues and implements solutions in the form of motivational initiatives, educational programs and effective “action-taking Weeks” that compel the audience towards thought and action to reduce the gender gap holding back the aviation industry.
All initiatives are designed to bridge the existing and slow-evolving gender gap in the industry using a holistic and incentive-based approach with the aim of changing the face of aviation.
What We Have Achieved
The Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide is known to produce tangible results that are felt by audiences and are provoking enough to generate more achievements. We have, till present day, rallied an influential group of 10,000 aviation enthusiasts (and still counting), in over 42 countries on 5 continents. Furthermore, iWOAW has successfully motivated 140,000 girls and women of all ages to discover the industry’s careers and hobbies, hands-on, and led 30,074 of them to take the Fly It Forward® challenge.
iWOAW has recorded an impressive onsite activity attendance of 44,000 in 2016, soaring from as little as 15,000 in 2013. The number of social media followers has grown exponentially since iWOAW was founded – from a little over 2,000 in 2012 to more than 15,000 followers by 2016. The Week’s official website received 275,000 unique visitors who viewed over 4.5 million pages of reliable information in 2016 from 90,000 annual unique visitors and 1.6 million pages served in 2013.
We were, are, and will always strive to end the unjustified gender gap in the Air and Space industry – a cleavage that will continue to exist if no decisive action is taken and will continue to impend growth in the industry.
Achievements, although documented in statistics and numbers, can more tangibly be seen by the success stories written by the experiencers themselves.
Our Mission and Vision
To foster gender balance in the air and space industry through outreach, education, and advocacy.
We will lead the shift to a more gender balanced air and space industry where men and women will thrive in harmony and parity.
The Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide proceeds with a clear vision and a straightforward mission – Coming up with creative and innovative programs in order to foster gender balance, thereby advocating educational approach and supporting the cause with full swing. At this point, it would be relevant to point out the role of the organization reflected in the full name of the institute – “Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide,” where women and girls are referred to as a vital element of the aviation industry and iWOAW’s methods, highlighted as quantitative and deliberate in nature.
Our operational mission is determined to appreciate the past and present, while chiefly designed to change the near future. We aim at recalling and celebrating the accomplishments of women in the air and space industry, so that our audience is aware of women’s roles in aviation, however few they have been. Speaking of today’s women, iWOAW engages them as role models and proponents to feature for the future in aviation. iWOAW primitively operates to shed light on the invariable future, unless acted upon, and thus to significantly grow the diminutive percentage increases since as long as 1910.
iWOAW looks out for making careers in aviation a commonality and a popular choice in the female population, alongside promising an outstanding change in the behavior and attitude that has led to today’s striking gender gap.
Our inherent mission is to develop rewarding programs that instill motivation, empowerment and confidence in the female population to succeed and thrive in the air and space industry as a lifelong career. Additionally, we aim to provide the girls and women the opportunities to outshine with their approach, and facilitate them to pursue a career in aviation with security, well-being and power. In order to accomplish this mission, we progress with another objective of educationally collaborating with organizations working with similar goals, thus making a complete global alliance for a balanced, and united aviation industry.
What We Do
Developing incentive-based and rewarding programs, forwarding initiatives and presenting the issue in mass media iWOAW is dedicated to foster gender balance in the aviation industry around the globe. The lack of gender balance thrives as a universal affliction in air and space worldwide; the issue is not a “girl problem” but rather an “industry problem”.
The world today has many multi-national organizations for worldwide unity and accordance, hundreds of businesses busy in promoting social and ecological awareness and further NGOs that are themed at other issues lying in our society – yet what we lack is a worldwide platform to raise awareness to the gender imbalance in the aviation industry. iWOAW is determined to bring about a day when the air and space industry will engage an exemplary balance of gender and parity in some of the most technical professions of all times.
Having a gender-balanced board of directors from a number of countries (as established by bylaws, mandated as an internal reality instead of mere talk) and educational and motivational activities involving 36 countries on 5 continents, iWOAW looks forward to eradicating the gender gap universally and invites other collaborations to form an alliance dedicated to this goal.
“Steering Women towards Aviation” and “Steering Women towards Success” are the two main prongs of iWOAW’s holistic approach to generating a gender shift; although subtly interlinked but independently expansive to make other initiatives fall under. “Steering Women towards Aviation” is centered around ‘Women of Aviation Worldwide Week’, the air and space industry’s only outreach incentive targeting girls of all ages and engaging aviation enthusiasts’ contribution through gamification, and not guilt.
The prospect is to unite across all borders and create irresistible messages aimed at the female population at large, thus fostering career interest in Aviation. The second branch, “Steering Women towards Success”, has the major initiative of ‘Certified Women Friendly Program’ that works as a referral system for female candidates. iWOAW’s Certified Women Friendly Program provides certification to organizations meeting a set criteria and hence receive the added benefits.
Therefore, the two branches of the Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide are basically developed to attract then retain using initiatives with a “scientific” approach, where Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are collected to measure an initiative’s effectiveness – a tool to further deepen our knowledge of our targeted audience and refine our programs.
The Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide progresses solely on educational tools and research developing two components of their single mission under which, a number of underlying, creative and effective initiatives fall. “Steering Women towards Aviation” and “Steering Women towards Success” enjoy separate initiatives that are set with distinct goals to achieve. Currently, the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative and the Fly It Forward® Challenge fall under the branch of “Steering Women towards Aviation”, whereas iWOAW Certified Women Friendly Program and the iWOAW Aviation Resources Hub are taken under the “Steering Women towards Success” mission, looking forward to a quick mass change and prominent induction in shifting the gender gap by the end of these programs.
(1) Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week
The Women of Aviation Worldwide Week (WOAW Week) is the world’s leading outreach initiative in respect to raising awareness and sparking aviation vocations in the female population, as well as in the air and space community for gender balance. The goal of the week is wholly to provide greater enlightenment regarding potential professions in the aviation industry for not only the males, but with equal significance, opportunities, and security for the females. Held every year during the week of March 8, Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week has a theme corresponding to an historical female milestone. The rally reaches across to the female population with hard-to-miss and hard-to-resist, warm and attractive messages, enticing women to actively participate with a hands-on educational approach.
The Week engages a few further sub-initiatives to support the “outreach” part of iWOAW’s plan. The “First to Solo™ Challenge” is intended to break the bars of hesitation and fear that prevents women from making their solo flight. This sub-initiative is designed to convert inspiration into real action without further ado. The challenge offers a flight training cash prize to each of the first three girls or women who solo after discovering flight in a small aircraft during the Week. In order to receive the prize, there is a requirement to document the flight by a set deadline.
Another sub-initiative is the “Pink Paper Plane Challenge” that is creative, fun and virtually for everyone around the globe. Pink as denoting the female color, this initiative is for all to undertake regardless of economic or geographic restriction. Taking the awareness to another level, pink paper planes are created on a massive scale to signify current lack of females in the profession. Social media is expanded enough to let the message and awareness go positively viral.
The Week also includes a number of contests in the form of creating art, taking pictures, capturing videos and such; a gamification approach to outreach. These multiple contests are ideal to motivate and propel the population to unite under Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week and support the cause internationally while receiving rewarding prizes for each.
(2) Fly it Forward® Challenge
The second initiative under the “Steering Women towards Aviation” is the ‘Fly It Forward® Challenge’. Every initiative, every program developed by the Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide is aimed at flight – a flight denoting the passion for the Air and Space industry since every aviation vocation begins with an interest in mere flying. This initiative is intended to spread awareness of the joys of small aircraft flying. The whole challenge is designed to offer unique opportunities for females worldwide – aviation enthusiasts encourage the female members of their community to take their first small aircraft flight while the girls and women lacking such local organizations are encouraged to visit flight schools during the Week.
This challenge has a single-minded purpose; to initiate the piloting experience within ambitious girls of all ages, providing female members of the community a chance to catch the flying bug. More importantly, the challenge recognizes the talented pool of aviation enthusiasts by awarding certain titles to candidates, fairly judged and evaluated by the iWOAW management. These titles and trophies include ‘Most Female Pilot Friendly Airport Worldwide’, ‘Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide’, and ‘Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide,’ which are given out annually. Participants are individually awarded an official Fly It Forward® certificate to celebrate their spirit, while the number of documented flights reported stands as a selection criteria for title winners. It provides iWOAW with an opportunity to collect KPI and evaluate the data received; a report created to survey the overall response and effectiveness, and help improvise later steps.
A friendly time-limit given for the competition brings out the urgency to act en masse and to let go of the barriers and board their first small aircraft flights. Moreover, the global scope of the challenge assures the crowd of belonging to the global community and reduces insecurities and any sense of isolation that some might have within. It brings together the entire world interested to ‘Fly it Forward®’ and generates a pool of promising talents that will bridge the gender gap in air and space industry in the near future.
Hence, the initiative under the mission of “Steering Women towards Aviation” fulfills its objective in the most innovative, fun and engaging way imaginable.
(3) iWOAW Certified Women Friendly program
The second branch of iWOAW’s overall mission is the “Steering Women towards Success” – a mission that more or less interlinks with the other branch, for the success of women today is to stand equal to males in terms of all preferences, opportunities and financial facilities. To steer women towards success is to help them navigate confidently away from the attitudes and behaviors that may impede their progress. This branch encourages the female population to advance in the aviation industry and opt for an Air/Space career as an achievable vocation.
The present state of the female population in the industry has limited not only the inspiration for future generations, but the networking opportunities as well. This fact makes the idea of identifying and connecting with women friendly organizations difficult, and thus their entry and advancement in the air and space industry is restricted and complicated.
Therefore, the iWOAW’s Certified Women Friendly Program acts as a powerful referral system for female candidates, providing each qualified organization with benefits such as an official seal to display in their communication material and being listed in iWOAW’s online directory. In order to qualify, the organizations are required to comply with a few guidelines:
- Become an iWOAW Member-Partner, receiving commercial and advertising opportunities.
- Provide the proof of organizing a complete, official activity in the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week.
- Provide proof of conducting hands-on activities at an official Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week activity.
- Provide proof of contributing substantially to the success of an official (registered) Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week activity or the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW).
- For flight training facilities only – Facilitate a minimum of 10 female discovery flights conducted in the facilities’ aircraft or simulators during Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week (flights may be conducted by instructors or customers and may be free or for a fee).
(4) All-in-One Peer-Reviewed Global Aviation Resources Hub
Under the branch of “Steering Women towards Success”, this sub-initiative is a Geo-referenced peer-reviewed online aviation resources hub designed to bring together industry organizations and individuals in a single, free-to-access, online location where people are assisted with insider knowledge and a direct link to everything they require, or hunt out for.
The resource hub features a directory of aviation organizations at global scale, including a reference to reviews and ratings for women-friendly key aspects and clear identification of iWOAW Certified Women Friendly status recipients. Importantly, this repository also features job opportunities posted by employers seeking significant female viewership.
In addition, an extensive directory of training providers aims to ease the prospect of searching for training programs and facilitate the identification of women friendly providers thereby enhancing the chances of success and decreasing the cost of trial and error experiences. For students and adults, the initiative also include a list of scholarships that do not require any membership or application fee as a pre-requisite to application.
To complete the all-in-one approach, time and money saving insider tips as well as career information from women’s perspective provide further insight.
With this initiative, all industry workers and students benefit from virtual assistance. This is especially important for workers and students who are deprived, for any reason, of free of charge networking opportunities, have limited local physical resources, and/or lack networking access to insider industry knowledge. Since iWOAW was established to advocate for Women, this sub-initiative puts a particular emphasis on female career/job awareness and uses a methodology adapted to women’s research style to address not only piloting but also all aviation technical careers.
The Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide began from the grassroots initiative launched in 2010 by its founder – founded and established after 3 successful outreach campaigns. iWOAW is a woman’s staunch stand in gathering a crowd, towards diverting today’s attention to a cause demanding significant attention. Mireille Goyer, an aviation educator and airline pilot, decided on impulse to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first female pilot license worldwide earned by Raymonde de Laroche on March 8, 1910, and searched for any planned events to attend. Goyer was dismayed at the unexpected result – there were none. The complete lack of awareness in such an important event drove Goyer to launch a worldwide campaign, refusing to see an honorable milestone go unnoticed. The Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide progressed with a single purpose to respect the dreams of those historical female personalities who (obviously) would have dreamt of seeing more women involved in a seemingly “Male Profession.” Mireille Goyer’s only goal was to honor the contributions of female aviation pioneers with a border-free worldwide campaign calling attention to the stagnant gender gap in the aviation industry and sparking girls and women’s passion in flight.
Mireille Goyer studied Math-Physics at the Université de Poitiers, France, and then moved to the United States to study Computer Graphic Design at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Upon graduation, Goyer started her professional career as a corporate communication consultant, producing multimedia presentations for large live corporate events in North America and Europe. Soon enough, Mireille began to take flights for pure pleasure – she had the hands and the heart for flying solo, high up in the sky. Goyer’s passion earned her a commercial pilot license promptly followed by ground and flight instructor ratings and eventually multiple airline transport pilot licenses. A safety advocate and a talented communicator, she 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. With thousands of flight hours, many of which were spent passing on piloting skills to others, a number of industry awards for her initiatives and roots in various countries, Mireille embodies the spirit of ‘Fly It Forward®’.
Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week 2016 – Summary Video
Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week 2015 – Summary Video
Madeline’s Fly It Forward® flight, Gonzales, Lousiana, USA, 2013
Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week from the ISS – Astronaut Chris Hadfield, 2013
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