Today marks National Women in Aerospace Day, a dedicated observance to celebrate and encourage the contributions of women in the aerospace industry. Established to inspire future generations of women to pursue careers in aerospace, this day honors the achievements of women who have made significant strides in fields ranging from commercial aviation to space exploration.

Celebrating Trailblazers and Visionaries

The aerospace industry has been shaped by numerous pioneering women, such as Harriet Quimby, the first U.S. woman pilot in 1911, and Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license in 1921. Their legacies, along with those of Amelia Earhart and Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, underscore the critical role women have played in advancing aerospace.

History of National Women in Aerospace Day

National Women in Aerospace Day was established in August 2021 by Nikki Malcom, the CEO and Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance and the 32nd recipient of the AeroTime Aviation Achievement Award in 2022. This day was created to celebrate the contributions of women in aerospace and to encourage more women to join the industry. It aims to increase access for women and girls by showcasing the incredible achievements of women in the field.

Women have been involved in aviation since 1908, but finding a place in the aerospace industry prior to 1970 was a significant challenge. Each generation has broken down new barriers, making careers in the military, commercial cockpits, laboratories, and space more accessible. From the first woman to earn a pilot’s license to the programmers who made the moon landing possible, National Women in Aerospace Day applauds these achievements and hopes to inspire more enthusiastic participation in the future.

In 1985, a pioneering group of women organized Women in Aerospace to network within the industry, increase visibility, and promote their achievements. Over 30 years since its establishment, the group now has over 2,000 individual members representing 250 companies, including more than 80 corporate members. The joint efforts of Women in Aerospace and the celebrations of National Women in Aerospace Day aim to make the aerospace industry truly inclusive.

Honoring Historical Contributions

National Women in Aerospace Day also honors historical figures like Katherine Johnson, whose calculations were crucial to NASA’s early space missions, and Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. These pioneers have paved the way for today’s achievements and inspire future generations of women in aerospace.

Inspiring Future Generations

Efforts to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education among young girls are more critical than ever. Programs aimed at increasing female representation in aerospace-related fields are essential for continuing the progress made by today’s trailblazers.

Celebrating Achievements and Encouraging Participation

National Women in Aerospace Day is a much-needed celebration of the achievements of women in the past and present within the aerospace industry. It also encourages women to pursue careers in the industry to fix the skewed male-to-female ratio. With outreach programs, more women can find themselves wanting to work in the industry, inspired by humankind’s incredible feats in science, technology, and innovation.