Did you know that March is Women’s History Month, and that Women of Aviation Worldwide Week started March 5? I didn’t, until a friend shared an e-mail from Penny Hamilton, a pilot with a Ph.D. who’s invested a lot of time studying just about every aspect of Teaching Women to Fly.
If you don’t remember her work, take another look at my post from January 2, 2011, Women & Aviation: Still No Real Change. Things, as most will agree, have not gotten any better since then. (And beyond aviation, of late they have taken another turn for the worse.)
But she and others haven’t quit. In Denver on March 1 Dr. Penny and her research partner, Dr. Marie-Line Germain of Western Carolina University, presented their full research and theory paper at the 2012 Academy of Human Resource Development International Research Conference in the Americas.
Their paper, “Women Employed in Male-Dominated Industries: Lessons Learned from Female Aircraft Pilots, Pilots-in-training and Mixed-gender Flight Instructors,” focuses on problems of exclusion, male-dominated industries, and rethinking human resources development.
During this week, Women of Aviation offers a plethora of activities and contests designed to get females of all ages involved. More important to me is that it welcomes the participation of anyone who believes that aviation would be better off with more women involved, and each one of us can make a difference.
I’ll take that one step further. For the most part, we men haven’t done a very good job of nurturing the pilot population (or the nation). Maybe now is the time to step aside and give women a chance. They certainly can’t do any worse than we have. –Scott Spangler