WAI To Host 9th Annual Girls In Aviation Day


Women in Aviation International (WAI) is set to host its 9th Annual Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD) on Sept. 23. Designed to introduce girls ages 8 to 18 to aviation and aerospace, GIAD events are put on by WAI chapters and corporate members worldwide. The organization estimates that more than 150 individual events will take place this year with around 30,000 young people participating.

“Thanks to the generous support of our partners, Women in Aviation International has significantly expanded this one-day event to reach girls interested in aviation and aerospace year-round through our Aviation for Girls program,” said WAI interim CEO Stephanie Kenyon. “As a part of this comprehensive youth STEM education program, we launched a new, free Junior membership for girls and boys 18 years and younger so they can enjoy all the WAI benefits and resources, including the ability to apply for up to three WAI scholarships.”

2023 GIAD events will include opportunities to meet female role models, career panels and exploring airplanes and airports along with activities such as sectional chart scavenger hunts and learning about aircraft engines and avionics with maintenance technicians. WAI noted that it is also continuing to offer virtual resources, activities, information and instructional videos through its free Aviation for Girls app. Last year, over 120 GIAD events took place, reaching more than 16,000 participants in 19 countries.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I fail to see the sexism in successful women mentoring teenage girls and showing them that aviation can be a fun and rewarding career. It’s certainly better than having them go watch the latest Barbie movie!

    • Sexism in the WAI presumption that:
      1) women specifically are too narrow minded about career choices OR
      2) women are too emotionally fragile to make choices w/o group affirmations

      I think both of those reasons are bunk and that women as individuals are smart enough and capable enough as anyone else can be. Their presumptions are that they want to address ignorance and weakness. That’s why groups like this come off as condescending and sexist.

      • Good lord. The event is to “introduce girls ages 8 to 18 to aviation and aerospace”. You know, to see if they might be interested? To plant some seeds of excitement? To spark some career thoughts? There’s something condescending and sexist in the comments here, but it’s not WAI.

        AvWeb comments never surprise me anymore, but they still disappoint me almost every time I visit.

        • Point is that there are plenty of programs that exist for introducing people to aviation. All or the programs are open and free to people. Thinking girls specifically are not welcome or unaware of the opportunities is ludicrous. WAI starts with a false premise.

        • Sexism is “discrimination based on sex”, which is exactly what a “Girls Day in Aviation” is, which implicitly excludes boys.

  2. Arguments can be made for both sides of this equation, and I can sympathize with both sides.

    In such instances it is often useful to look at the contrapositive.

    Lets say there was a ‘Men In Aviation Day’ that was celebrated. Or a ‘Whites In Aviation’. Or ‘The Christian Mens Iron Sharpens Iron Aviation Summit’.

    I think any of these analogous instances would meet with resistance.

    On the third hand, women represent less than half of current pilots.

    Ergo lets postulate a ‘Men In Nursing Day, or a Whites In Professional Basketball Day’.

    Clearly this would not ‘fly’ in any instance.

    • Women represent less than half of current pilots, or construction workers, or motorcycle riders.
      That represents freedom and personal choice; not repression.
      It’s rather nutty when organizations dislike free choice so much that they actively work against it in order to coerce people into a cause célèbre.

  3. Mr. Foyt, this is not a question of free choice, it’s a function of a culture that for years enforced unrealistic gender roles and perpetuated the narrative that women were not capable of performing certain professions so they were discouraged from even attempting to try.

    Organizations like this are working to undo this harmful toxic masculinity by letting women know they are just as capable (imho they are more capable) of undertaking these professions and they do indeed now have the freedom of choice that women were socially deprived of for way too long. The fact that you are offended by this is really more of a you problem.

    • Toxic masculinity? Gender roles?
      Flight schools would kill to get students and THEY DO NOT CARE what sex students are!
      STEM classes are everywhere and schools would never stop kids from any tech field.
      The idea that INDIVIDUALS are being prevented from aviation is ludicrous.

      • Funny that my having a positive attitude of the current flying culture in the USA is met with disapproval and political horseshit. If you are complaining about “gender” these days then I dare say that NOTHING will make you happy. Me, I’m going flying.

    • I won’t argue whether or not toxic masculine culture existed in the past, but where is it now? Does it still exist? I’m assuming you think so, hence your “working to undo” comment. The truth is, it doesn’t exist institutionally today, so why the need to single out certain groups? And if you say toxic masculinity still exists today, I’d like some examples. If anything, we’re going in exactly the opposite direction.

  4. OK, Arthur. Let’s talk about about Toxic Masculinity and Gender roles. At my home airport, the then manager (now deceased) thought women shouldn’t be pilots and did his best to run off the only woman based there. I have two daughters and three granddaughters and I am well acquainted with the social roles which are still being enforced (if clandestinely) in some areas.

    • So you know one guy 50 years ago who disliked one woman and he failed to run her off? Basing your world view on just one loser is the very definition of prejudice. Hell, we have an airport manager that harasses everyone. Big deal. As with the one woman you mentioned, we all meet disagreeable people and even some on frequency. Get over it like we all do.

    • “Still being enforced (if clandestinely) in some areas” hardly constitutes widespread sexism. Yes, sexism still exists, but not on a broad scale, nor anything close to it.

  5. It’s fascinating how the (largely clueless) AWOGs get so riled about something as non-threatening as some women putting on a program to attract girls into aviation. Not too different from the boys-only events and programs I experienced growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, or the male dominated clubs and organizations that pretty much excluded women up until the last few decades. Seems fitting that WAI and like organizations put some balance in – nothing to be afraid of guys.

    • It’s not threatening to men; it’s demeaning of women and disingenuous based on facts. Reality is that everyone faces hurdles and being a woman in 2023 is not one of them. There is no need to push for “balance” when we already have open systems.

    • The problem is that they’re singling out an identity group (boys). If they truly believe men and women deserve the same opportunity, there would be no exclusion. However, they believe women need a “leg up”, which is precisely the opposite of equal opportunity.