Aviation for Women

MAR-APR 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

Issue link: https://afwdigital.epubxp.com/i/943881

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Page 72 of 84

70 AviationforWomen M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 Aviadoras Takes Off in Spain V A N E S S A D E V E L A S C O C A L V O - F L O R E S A viadoras, an initiative of the Spanish Pi- lots Association (AEP in Spanish), aims to increase the number of female pi- lots in aviation. With this project, we hope to shed light on the challenges for women and to make it an interesting career choice for young girls. We aim to create an open-minded community, encourage equality and equilibrium within the aeronautics field, and promote an at- mosphere of mutual understanding among pi- lots. Aviadoras also believes in providing new generations with positive female role models and famous historical figures. On October 1, 2017, Aviadoras officially took off during a daylong event at the Cuatro Vien- tos Airfield, headquarters of the Real Aeroclub of Spain. It was there that Aviadoras present- ed its objectives and agenda to increase the fe- male presence within the pilots guild currently at about 3 percent of the workforce. Almost 500 people participated in the cel- ebration, including representatives from the Community of Madrid, the City Hall, and the Ministry of Development. All of them empha- sized their commitment to the project, and re- iterated the need for projects like Aviadoras to create spaces of goodwill and equality between women and men. I thanked every female pilot that was present at the event, as they are an essential part of Aviadoras and really the heart of the project. I reminded them those female aviators who came before paved the way, and today's female pilots are working to change the present and inspire future female pilots. The president of SEPLA, Javier Gómez Barrero, gave the opening speech and reminded the audience, "We are still missing women role models in the world of aviation." Isabel Maestsre, director of Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aérea, added, "No- body doubts that society has gone a long way to- wards equality, but we still have much distance to cover before we actually achieve it." This dis- tance, according to María Teresa Maldonado, general director for the Non-Discrimination and Equality Promotion Committee of Madrid's City Hall, must be covered by walking hand-in-hand as "things change because there are people that, individually or as a group, try to change this world for the better." AEP President Ariel Shocrón, also added, "For us, flying is not only a job but a way of life and the pinnacle of a career dream." Since its creation, Aviadoras has launched numerous educational, cultural, and research initiatives to promote aeronautical culture at schools, forums, conferences, and workshops. We believe in integration and inclusion, as the best results can only be obtained through hard work among both female and male pilots. The best example of this can be found within the air- craft itself: Mixed-gender cabin crews have per- formed better and have been more efficient than single-gender crews. Our philosophy is exactly that—integration for strong numbers. Past, Present, and Future The opening speeches were followed by a tribute to two very special women who paved the way for all the female pilots. Bettina Kadner, the first female commercial Spanish pilot, received a commemorative plaque from SEPLA's president. Bettina obtained her license in 1969 and flew for Spantax and Iberia. She had accumulated over 24,000 flight hours when she retired in 2006. Amparo Pagès also received recognition as the first female helicopter pilot in Spain in 1980. Another pioneer woman, Elisabeth Heil meyer, received an award for being the first disabled female pilot to fly in a glider. Elisabeth opened the doors for other pilots with disabilities who wished to obtain their licenses. After the awards ceremony, there was a pan- el discussion between various aeronautical as- sociation representatives. The panelists agreed that while discrimination cases are not as preva- lent as before, there's still much to do to attain equality for female pilots. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vanessa de Velasco Calvo-Flores is chief manag- er of Aviadores, the first female pilot movement in Spain promoted by SEPLA AEP (Sindicato Espanol de Pilotos De Lineas Aereas), the Span- ish Pilots Association, and the Spanish Airlines Pilots Guild. ✈ Since it's creation, Aviadoras has launched numer- ous educational, cultural and research initiatives to promote aero- nautical culture at schools, forums, conferences, and workshops. I N T E R N A T I O N A L F O C U S L to R: Javier Gómez Barrero, Amparo Pagès Pinsach, Belén Prado Sanjurdo, and Bettina Kadner Schilling at the awards ceremony.

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