During the 13th edition of Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week, March 6-12, 2023, the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW) recorded 263 Fly It Forward® events, each offering varied hands-on aviation exposure to women and girls unfamiliar with the industry’s opportunities.
As a result, 46,000 women and girls across all continents got a chance to explore local aviation workplaces and try out aviation activities including flight, bringing the Fly It Forward® initiative’s lifetime total to 501,000 female attendees.
Launched in 2010 to celebrate the Centennial of the world’s first female pilot licence, the Fly It Forward® initiative challenges industry enthusiasts and stakeholders to invite the women and girls of their communities to check out the work opportunities and environments. The aim is to address the enduring outreach gender gap in the air and space industry and spark new aviation vocations within the female population.
The aviation industry employs over 90 million individuals worldwide but few women occupy to its highest-paid technical and administrative occupations. Only 8% of the CEOs for the world’s top 100 airlines are women. The percentage of female pilots working for the world’s largest airlines hovers around 5-6% on average. Even the percentage of executive positions in the human resources sector largely dominated by women outside of the industry stand at less than 40%.
“This event changed my life,” said Eline Mets. She decided to start flight training immediately after attending a Fly It Forward® event organized by Colette Morin, owner of Glacier Air, an air charter and training provider in Squamish, BC, Canada.
Mets is not alone in taking action after attending one of the many events organized to celebrate Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week. In fact, over 60% of women who report their experience at the week’s official website, WomenOfAviationWeek.org, say that they decided to get involved in aviation as a result.
The impact of the Fly It Forward® initiative overtime is noticeable. After decades of virtual standstill in female representation, the number of women entering the industry began to increase in 2010. Likewise, the number of industry employers and trainers who celebrate women’s roots in the industry and reach out directly to the next generation to diversify their workforce is improving.
“A tree without roots shrivels,” says Mireille Goyer, iWOAW’s Founder and President. “The Fly It Forward® initiative connects the next generation of female aviation professionals to their roots and the current women community so that they may grow new vibrant links of their own.”
The next annual Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week will take place from March 4 to March 10, 2024.