This Women’s History Month, we’re honoring and celebrating a few top-notch female pilots who have flown to great heights and secured their place in history along the way.
The theme for International Women’s Month this year is to #BreakTheBias. Bias is defined as prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
Let’s get to know the inspiring women who shaped the history of aviation and proved that we can break the bias.
The one and only! In May 1932, Kansas-born Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping. Five years later, at age 39, Earhart and her plane disappeared during a round-the-world trip. She left behind a lasting legacy that continues to intrigue and inspire.
Bessie Coleman (AKA “Queen Bessie”) wasn’t one to take ‘no’ for an answer. In 1921, after being denied by countless flight schools in the United States, Coleman traveled to France, where she enrolled in an aviation academy and became the first Black American woman to earn a pilot’s license. Upon returning to the U.S., the international aviation legend dazzled crowds with her awe-inspiring stunts.
Born in Florida in 1906, Cochran’s life was fascinating and multifaceted. The aviation star got her pilot’s license after only three weeks of training and went on to hold more distance, altitude, and speed records than any other pilot, male or female, until the time of her death in 1980. A former Saks Fifth Avenue beauty counter employee, Cochran’s love of beauty remained even as the record-breaker took flight - she had her own line of cosmetics, called Wings, which Marilyn Monroe proudly endorsed.
Inspired by Bessie Coleman’s dedication and tenacity, Willa Brown became the first Black American woman to receive a U.S. pilot’s license in 1938. Between her impactful work in aviation to her time spent as a schoolteacher and social worker, Brown’s legacy is an impressive one. She advocated tirelessly for gender and racial equality within aviation and the military, training hundreds of successful pilots and lobbying the U.S. government to integrate the Air Corp.
These are just a few of the many groundbreaking female pilots that have shaped the history of aviation. Feeling inspired? Whether it’s taking flight lessons, learning a new language, or just keeping those houseplants alive, may we all be as brave and steadfast in the pursuit of our passions as these high-flying heroes were.
We encourage everyone to Shape Change to Break the Bias.