On September 23, the world of aviation will belong to the girls in the form of the ninth annual Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD) hosted by Women in Aviation International (WAI).
According to WAI, there are more than 150 events planned at airports, FBOs, museums, and hangars across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Links to events in your area may be found here.
These age-appropriate activities are designed to introduce girls ages 8-18 to the career and lifestyle possibilities in aviation and aerospace. Girls are presented the opportunity to meet female role models, attend career panels, get up close with aircraft, tour airports, and take advantage of hands-on fun and educational activities, including chart reading, scavenger hunts, exploring the moon and Mars research sites, and learning about aircraft engines and avionics with the help of aviation maintenance technicians.
However, Girls in Aviation is not a one-day event, according to Kelly Murphy, WAI director of communications.
“In addition to the around-the-world event, we have new content on the Aviation for Girls app,” Murphy said. “We encourage girls all around the world to download the free Aviation for Girls app and to enjoy a virtual Girls in Aviation Day and access WAI resources all year.”
Girls 18 and younger can also access a free junior WAI membership, Murphy said.
Membership is required to apply for the many scholarships that the organization facilitates. “If they become a junior member by October 1, they can apply for up to three scholarships. The deadline for the application is October 12,” Murphy said.
WAI’s GIAD event hosts will offer free activity kits while supplies last to participants featuring a Girls in Aviation Day backpack filled with Aviation for Girls 2023 Issue 2, a propeller activity, an aviation sectional chart, a WAI sticker, a glitter tattoo, the new WAI Career Guide, and a bandana. Additionally, caps, keychains, and GIAD T-shirts for adults and children are available for purchase.
“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,” WAI interim CEO Stephanie Kenyon said. “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. We know Girls in Aviation Day has been instrumental in introducing opportunities in aviation and STEM to thousands of participants all around the world.”
History of GIAD
The first WAI international Girls in Aviation Day was celebrated in 2015, with 32 events and 3,200 participants. The event has grown each year, and in 2019 GIAD sported 20,000 attendees and 119 events in 18 countries. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the launch of the Aviation for Girls app, which has enabled virtual access worldwide.
This year, WAI published The Sky is Unlimited: Careers in Aviation and Aerospace, which will be included in each GIAD activity kit and will be available on the Aviation for Girls app as well as the WAI website.
Editor’s Note: This story first appeared on flyingmag.com.