Mon, Mar 30, 2009
At a number of the more intriguing special events that ANN and
Aero-TV partake in, we engage in an interesting exercise in which
we pose at least three questions to a dozen or so of those
attending to gauge the mood on a range of issues pertaining to the
subject at hand. This year's Women In Aviation Event was ripe for
another such pursuit. Of the three topics raised this year,
one was the obvious issue of whether or not there was still a
perceptible level of discrimination against women in the aviation
industry, the second was whether or not the current economic issues
might make it easier or more difficult for women to enter this
industry -- and finally, what advice our respondents might have for
a women looking to the aviation world with her feet on the ground
but stars in her eyes...
The theme for the 20th Annual International Women in Aviation
(WAI) Conference was "A New Approach for Your Tomorrow," but the
Conference's underlying thrust was unquestionably jobs and the
economy. Despite furloughs, fears and dwindling retirement funds,
Conference-goers were full of determined optimism about their
futures. Those WAI members who have spent their careers in the
aviation industry were quick to assure younger attendees that the
aviation industry operates in cycles and this one, too, shall
"Companies and organizations continue to hire, and we had active
career recruiting by many of our exhibitors, especially for
mechanics and technicians, but also for pilots, air traffic
controllers and other positions as well," said WAI President Dr.
Peggy Chabrian. "Our members and Conference attendees are proactive
and steadfast; they are the top-tier candidates that any employer
would want to hire."
Conference highlights included:
- Attendance reached nearly 3,000 women and men, including
representatives from 15 countries.
- The Exhibit Hall displayed 125 separate companies and
organizations, representing all aspects of the aviation
- $459,450 in scholarships was distributed to WAI members at
every stage of life from university students to mature members
seeking a mid-life career change to aviation.
- The WAI silent auction raised $18,500 for WAI's Endowment Fund,
bringing the total in the Endowment Fund to $629,500. The money in
the WAI Endowment Fund is used for scholarships.
- Five women were inducted into WAI's International Pioneer Hall
of Fame including Jacqueline Cochran, the first woman to break the
sound barrier; Patricia Malone, a US Navy WAVE who trained aircraft
carrier-based pilots on instrument flight procedures; Ruth Nichols
who holds more than 35 women's aviation records; Dawn Seymour, the
first woman accepted into the Civilian Pilot Training Program
(CPTP) at Cornell University, and who later was chosen for the WASP
program; and Anna Timofeyeva-Yegorova, one of the most famous
Soviet women to fly in a male combat regiment during World War II
and holder of the Hero of the Soviet Union award.
Added Dr. Chabrian, "This Conference was a celebration of 20
years of Women in Aviation conferences, and a rededication of our
commitment to look forward by providing career opportunities for
women in all aspects of the aviation community while looking back
to recognize and honor the accomplishments of the determined women
who made today's accomplishments and career choices possible."
The 21st Annual International Women in Aviation Conference will
be held at Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort in Lake
Buena Vista, Florida, near Orlando, from February 25-27, 2010. As
always, ANN will be there.
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