Women’s History Month: A Look at Impactful Women in Aviation

Women in Aviation

Since 1987, the month of March has been a time to reflect on the many accomplishments of women in aviation. Women’s History Month invites us to remember that, while women have made tremendous gains, the challenges ahead must be met with the vigor seen in leaders of the past. This is true in many industries, including aerospace and aviation.

Connected Aviation Today has always championed the stories of women in aviation. Over the last several years, there has been no shortage of amazing stories from women about their journeys through a historically male-dominated industry. To kick-off Connected Aviation Today’s Women’s History Month coverage, our editorial team reviewed and chosen some of the most impactful stories shared by some of the amazing women in aviation. While there are many stories left to tell, these several are worth revisiting:

Women in Aviation Introduce Girls to Engineering, Aviation, and Aerospace

STEM has often been criticized for its lack of diversity, especially since increased diversity often leads to innovation. With aviation being among the most affected industries by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the need for innovation is more necessary than ever. The need for diverse thought has driven many organizations to encourage young women to pursue aviation and engineering as a career path. One such initiative that Connected Aviation Today learned more about was the “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” day.

Collins Aerospace created this annual event, aligned with the Girl Day campaign, to provide young women with interactive experiences like flying drones, building robots, and even experimenting with flight simulators. Year over year, more girls participate and are introduced to the program, creating lifelong passions that are fueling growth in the number of women studying STEM and entering the aviation industry.

Read the full story here.

Executive Spotlight: Mary Cleave Followed Her Passion to Outer Space

“Never be afraid to follow your passions,” Mary Cleave offered as advice for a younger generation of women in the STEM field.  Growing up, Cleave didn’t have the same opportunities as her male counterparts. In fact, when considering college, she was limited to what career she could pursue. It wasn’t until Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 was implemented, that more doors opened up for Cleave.

Cleave never set out to be an engineer or an astronaut. She only followed her interests, which from the time she was a child, was a fascination with flying and aircraft. She had many defining moments in her life, all of which led to a career path that landed her in outer space… twice.

Read the full story here.

Executive Spotlight: Flying Above Barriers and Making History in the Aviation Industry

Women of color exist at an intersection of prejudices that have often been the foundation of tremendous challenges. These individuals have historically been held back from any number of fields of study and career paths and while progress has been made over the years, too often women of color still face enormous barriers in their careers.

Connected Aviation Today reflected on women of color and their accomplishments in the aviation industry in an article from last year. Highlighting and celebrating the success of brave female pioneers such as the first African American women in space, Mae Jemison, Maureen “Mo” Woods, who broke several barriers throughout her career, and Joan Higginbotham, who lent engineering expertise to the creation of the International Space Station.

Read the full story here.

Executive Spotlight: LeAnn Ridgeway Rises to New Heights in Aerospace Industry

LeAnn Ridgeway is a self-made career woman that rose to the top of her industry through hard work and dedication. Persistence led her from a temporary worker position in 1988 to becoming a Vice President and General Manager at Collins Aerospace. Connected Aviation Today had the opportunity to interview Ridgeway and bring her advice to young women to our wider audience.

Ridgeway’s main point of advice is to “not be afraid to take on new challenges,” and “find ways to stretch your experiences.” Along with her dedication to mentoring aspiring young women, the full article is full of information that everyone will find empowering and informative.

Read the full story here.

Connected Aviation Today has spoken with so many more impressive women in aviation, to read all of the stories, click here.