Women in Aviation Day, by Joby

On Wednesday, March 6, Joby Aviation hosted a reception celebrating Women in Aviation in honor of the official #InternationalWomensDay on March 8. It gathered a handful of significant women in leadership to speak, including Bonny Simi, president of operations for Joby, Joanna Geraghty, CEO of JetBlue and Senators Duckworth and Cantwell. From their inspiring words—and boards crafted from the FAA’s Women in Aviation Advisory Board report out last year—I walked away with the following takes:

1. We need women to make up a larger percentage of the pool of potential aviation careerists so that we can swell the numbers in that group—and thereby draw the best stars from a larger pool. If we only attract half the population with our promise, we may wait longer for the geniuses we need to deliver on that promise.

2. Women leaders serve as role models to those entering the industry, as well as those rising through the ranks. At every stage in my career, through all its twists and turns, I’ve had women and men who have guided me—but those women in CEO or business ownership positions have resonated with me on a viseral level. In my role at Flying, I felt this keenly, calling on a wide range of mentors who motivated and supported me.

3. Thanks to Insta and its influencers, women pilots are more visible, and reach out to inspire young people who may not have known what was possible back in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, as Sen. Duckworth noted from her own entry into the service. And though the percentages entering airline classes have ticked up—at some airlines more than others—the stubborn truth is that we haven’t moved the needle enough to even match the percentages of women in other STEM fields—20 vs 26 percent. Work rules that benefit all parents will help more—and as Bonny pointed out, short-range eVTOLs naturally suit any pilot who prefers to—or needs to—spend each night at home. 

4. And Sen. Cantrell’s observation that she noticed a higher percentage of women in the composites area at the Technology Center at the University of Washington? While she compared the mix of chemistry and physics in elaborating new processes to baking, I think that the complex problem solving within a quieter environment would hold appeal to those more in tune with the laminations of a pastry chef as opposed to the brute force often involved in bending and shaping metal—male or female. As the science evolves, so will the workforce to craft it. As we highlight the women succeeding every day in these fields, we expand the appeal of our industry to everyone, lifting us up—together.

For a highlights reel, visit our YouTube channel.