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University of Waterloo aviation student Jodie Scarrow has established the new Women in Aviation chapter, Winged Warriors.
The new UW chapter of Women in Aviation will be home to a new collegiate chapter for young women with dreams of becoming the next generation of aviation professionals.
The official launch event will be held at Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m.
“I have always been passionate about aviation,” said Scarrow, third-year UW Aviation student. “I attend every conference and event possible to get involved and learn more. When I asked if there was a women in aviation group at UW, I was told there wasn’t, but was encouraged to start one. I knew there was potential, so I readily took on the task.”
The launch event is open to anyone who is interested in aviation. Networking opportunities with women in the industry, keynote speakers and light refreshments will be provided.
“We are happy to host the launch event of the Winged Warriors,” said Bob Connors, general manager of the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre. “WWFC has always been a strong supporter of women in aviation and with International Women’s Day on March 8, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to celebrate women and the new women in aviation chapter.”
The event will feature two keynote speakers:
- Anna Pangrazzi, president and owner of Apex Aircraft Sales Ltd. and vice-president and Director of Northern Lights Aero Foundation; and
- Dr. Suzanne Kearns, associate professor, Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo.
The Winged Warriors launch on March 2 will kick off International Women’s Day, which is the following Thursday. It is hoped the event will encourage young women to pursue a career in aviation, since there are many opportunities in the industry.
“There is currently a shortage of pilots,” said Connors. “Canadian airlines have stated they’ll be hiring about 1,000 commercial pilots this year, maybe even more, but only about 600 Canadians will be produced by flight schools.”
Pilots are not the only career in demand. Aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs) are also seeing a shortage in recruits and looking for new ways to source staff.
“The ratio of women to men in the aviation industry remains low,” said Connors. “However, that can change with increased awareness and promotion of career opportunities to young women. There are many women pilots, AMEs and controllers who are very successful and well respected and there is huge potential for more.”
WWFC is involved in gender-equality initiatives to reach out to young women and highlight aviation career paths, such as pilots, air traffic controllers and maintenance professionals.
WWFC hosts two events, Girls Can Fly and Aviation Fun Day each year with a focus of introducing the aviation industry to youth and their families. Both events are hugely successful with a large attendance.