International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on 8th March. To honour this day, we invited Fly Your Ideas participants to share with us the lessons they have learned from inspiring women about dreaming, risking, trying, failing and, ultimately, succeeding.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Almudena describes International Women’s Day as ‘‘an occasion to celebrate our successes and advances and a reminder that women’s rights are still not guaranteed in many countries and that we cannot stop campaigning until every corner of the world benefits from gender equality.’’
Luciana adds, ‘‘a day to remember that every day we should choose to reject gender-biased attitudes and instead believe in ourselves and our potential.’’
How do you plan to celebrate International Women’s Day this year?
Some of our participants will look for inspiration in the stories and achievements of successful women. Daniela plans to read about women who made history, while Julia hopes to reach out to a woman in the aerospace industry and ask her what it took to carve a career path.
Almudena finds empowerment in helping others to pursue their dreams. She plans to spend the day as usual, working on her lectures and encouraging her students (both male and female) to become great engineers. ‘‘I cannot think of a better way to contribute to our common future.’’
Luciana encourages us to push forward for change. ‘‘We should start by being bold, having difficult conversations around gender stereotyping and sharing our own experience to support and encourage others.’’
Of course, with just a few days to go until the Round 2 deadline, many Fly Your Ideas teams will spend the day working hard on their projects. Team Osprey told us that participating in the competition is ‘‘important as women in STEM to show the younger generation that engineering is for everyone.’’
Tell us about a woman who inspires you.
The inspiration for our teams? Pioneering women of the past and present. Both Juan Sebastián and Daniela name as their inspiration Marie Curie, who at the turn of the 20th century developed the theory of radioactivity and became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Juan Sebastián describes Curie as ‘‘a revolutionary woman who literally gave her life to science, resulting in one of the best discoveries in human existence.’’ Her story encourages Daniela ‘‘to dedicate my life to science, to pursue a career dominated by men and to be great in it.’’
Our teams are also empowered by the success of leading women at Airbus. Ana Cristina Galucio, Chief of Staff at Airbus Defence and Space, is a local heroine for Team Flyby: ‘‘Born in a small northern Brazilian city, she overcame challenges and won battles in pursuit of a dream that made her one of the world’s greatest composites materials experts.’’ Sarath is inspired by Jaqueline Castle, Airbus A380 Chief Engineer, whose ‘‘strength and drive for her work’’ earned her a place amongst the Top 50 Influential Women in Engineering.
Almudena hopes to follow in the footsteps of Sally Ride, one of the first female astronauts, while Luciana names as her inspiration Constance Adams, the first Space Architect to work for NASA. Luciana explains, ‘‘when people tell you that you can’t do something, it’s motivation to prove them wrong by pursuing your dreams.’’
Reminding us that inspiration can always be found amongst our peers, Julia says, ‘‘I feel like women in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Mathematics) are always playing in the same team – they want other women to succeed and often their attitude screams: ‘I did it, so you can do it as well!’’’
We hope you enjoyed hearing our students’ thoughts on International Women’s Day. To find out more visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
With thanks to our contributors
Almudena, Team Learning to Fly
Daniela, Team Move-ez
David, Volney, Lêdson and Gleidson, Team Flyby
Juan Sebastián, Team Seneka
Luciana, Team AirPOOL
Natasha, Pia Maria and Kieran, Team Osprey
Sarath, Team Maverick