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International Women’s Day inspiration from four pioneering women in engineering

Mar 06, 2020

Happy International Women’s Day! Airbus Fly Your Ideas is proud to have seen many brilliant female participants over the years, so here are some empowering insights from four pioneering alumni.

Don’t let anyone put you off achieving your dreams

Pilar Tagliero, Team V.A.C.A, 2019 Finalist

Last year, Pilar led Team V.A.C.A all the way from Argentina to the Fly Your Ideas final in Toulouse, France. Pilar is currently studying for a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering at ISAE-Supaero, France.

Pilar says, ‘If you know you are on the right path, if you have that feeling… if you are willing to do your best in order to achieve your goals, then don’t let anyone put you off. They really don’t know what you are capable of.’

Be confident in yourself and your abilities

Pia Maria Sælen, Team Osprey, 2019 Finalist

In 2019, Pia launched her own aerospace start-up, Mako Aerospace, with her Fly Your Ideas teammate Kieran Duncan. Together, they are collaborating with Ampaire to build the world’s first all-electric boundary layer ingestion flight demonstrator.

She told us, ‘For the next generation of women, I would like to see girls that are confident in themselves and their abilities. Even though the engineering world is quite male-dominated, women can have a very positive influence in the workplace by being themselves and not sacrificing their personality, as we move to gender equilibrium.’

Dismiss the stereotypes – focus on producing your best work

Maria Onoufriou, Team SkyVision, 2017 Finalist

Maria is a research engineer working towards an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Composites Manufacture sponsored by Rolls Royce.

Maria says, ‘What I did to overcome the challenge of being a woman in a male-dominated area was forget about the stereotypes and dismiss the assumption that most people believed in them. That helped lift the pressure to prove myself all the time and allowed me to just focus on producing my best work.’

There is no right or wrong idea

Kerry Phillips, Team Aquarius, 2017 Finalist

In 2018, Kerry secured a prestigious internship with Airbus’ German innovation team and was also a coach at the  Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy. Kerry graduated with a double degree in Aviation and Business Management from The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia.

Her advice to aspiring engineers? ‘There is no right idea or wrong idea. Just ones that make sense and can exist easily within the world, improving people’s lives.’


We hope that these insights will inspire you not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. #EachForEqual


More empowering stories from Airbus Fly Your Ideas:

How diversity stimulates innovation

Why building a better world starts with more women in STEM

How Fly Your Ideas launched a stellar year for Kerry

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