An all-female Delta crew is just a step in Delta’s strides being taken to close the gender gap in aviation. This is inspiring women everywhere who are trying to become successful in a male-dominated work environment.
Though the percentage of female pilots in the U.S. is growing, it has only grown by 1 percent in the past 10 years. In the U.S. today, only 6 percent of pilots are female.
Delta has been making major strides in closing the gender gap in aviation in recent years. Delta began a women’s training program in 2015 as an “effort to diversify a male-dominated industry and expose girls to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers at a young age,” as stated on Delta’s website.
On International Girls in Aviation Day, Delta’s WING (Women Inspiring our Next Generation) flight took off, for the fifth time, carrying 120 girls passionate in learning more about careers in aviation.
The WING Flight was completely, “planned and orchestrated exclusively by women – including the pilots flying the plane, ramp agents working on the ground, gate agents boarding the flight, and women in the tower guiding the aircraft on its way out,” as stated on Delta’s website.
In the five flights that Delta’s program has oriented since 2015, over 600 girls have flown, and become inspired to reach their own goals. During the program, girls learn about the different career paths women have taken in aviation and discover the reasons that it is possible for them to become like those women.
“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,” said Beth Poole, General Manager – Pilot Development, who helped start Delta’s WING Flight.
This year, the WING program landed in Houston, and the girls toured a few of NASA’s buildings and learned about flight and human space exploration. A special guest at their luncheon was Jeanette Epps, a NASA astronaut and aerospace engineer.
For some of the girls in the program, this was the first time they had ever flown, which made the experience even more life-changing.
Delta plans to continue the WING program.
They hope the girls will become the future inspiration of other women and will aid the program in “addressing under-representation by growing and inspiring talent, nurturing the individuals and removing economic, racial and gender barriers.”