Seeing is believing.
That is what Delta Airlines believes to be true. They know that in order to truly believe that you can achieve something, it helps to have someone who looks like you achieve it first.
Since 2015, Delta has flown over 600 young girls with an all-female crew, as a part of their WING program for International Girls in Aviation. WING is an acronym for Women Inspiring our Next Generation.
The goal of the program is simple, “closing the gender gap in aviation.”
This year, Delta flew 120 girls from Salt Lake City to NASA in Houston to show them that a career in aviation is possible.
Not only was the in-flight crew all women, but the ramp and gate agents, and those in the control tower were also women.
The girls ranged from ages 12 to 18 and all came from STEM schools. These schools’ curriculum places an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math.
Beth Poole, General Manager – Pilot Development at Delta and who helped to begin the program said, “We know representation matters. At Delta, we believe you have to see it, to be it.”
She continued, “We’re taking ownership to improve gender diversity by exposing girls at a young age and providing a pipeline so that 10 years from now, they will be the pilots in the Delta cockpit inspiring generations of women who follow.”
Once the girls landed in Houston, they were able to tour some of NASA’s buildings. They were also able to have lunch with Jeanette Epps.
Epps is a NASA astronaut and aerospace engineer.
To be surrounded by such accomplished women really did help the girls to see themselves in these roles one day.
Katelyn J., a 17-year-old, 12th grader said, “Hey, I can do this too.”
What made this trip even more special for some of the girls was that it was their first time flying on a plane! It is bound to be an experience that they won’t soon forget.
According to The International Institute for Sustainable Development, almost 80 percent of flight attendants are female. However, “barely five percent of pilots are women, and the proportion of women in technical or leadership positions in aviation is even lower.”
Though Delta is making strides and implementing programs to change these numbers, they too have a ways to go.
Delta states that, 5% of its pilots are women and that 7.4% hired over the last four years are women.
Delta’s efforts have paid off in several ways as their actions have not gone unnoticed. This year, Delta was awarded a “Best Workplace for Women” by both Great Place To Work and Fortune. This was their third time being rewarded.
Delta also achieved 100 percent pay parity for employees in frontline jobs.
The company has really made strides in its goal of “addressing underrepresentation by growing and inspiring talent, nurturing the individuals and removing economic, racial and gender barriers.”
As Delta continues to implement these standards for its airline, hopefully, other companies take note and follow suit!
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