Wednesday Is Women’s Day At Oshkosh
EAA does a lot all year round to encourage women and girls to participate in the world of aviation, but at AirVenture those efforts ramp up. Wednesday was WomenVenture day at the show, and this year’s event drew nearly 1,000 women to gather for a group photo on Boeing Plaza. Elissa Lines, EAA’s former VP of donor relations, said the original goal for the event was to give female pilots a place to gather at a largely male-dominated convention. It’s all about “women helping women overcome the challenges, the fear, the uncertainties, and achieve their dreams,” she said. “The percentage of women pilots among all pilots has been a difficult number to push forward. The rewards are tremendous, the opportunities are terrific and the impact on one’s life is just amazing. We want to pass it on!” Participants also met for a networking breakfast and lunch.
The show also offers the Women Soar You Soar event for high-school girls, since 2005, and this year it expanded from two days to a full four days. “Whether they like aviation as a hobby or want to pursue it as a career, there are opportunities and activities for everyone,” said Tara Parkhurst, EAA’s museum educator and coordinator of the event. Activities include hands-on workshops, tours of the EAA Seaplane Base and AirVenture grounds, and a low ropes course. “It’s a great education and an experience for them, and that’s what we want,” said Debby Rihn-Harvey, an aerobatic pilot and Southwest Airlines captain who’s worked with the event since 2006. This year, participants went flying in a Ford Tri-Motor, and were matched with mentors from a wide range of career tracks, including airline pilots, air traffic controllers and engineers.