Women currently represent only 6% of the pilot population, so when we say aviation is a male-dominated profession it is not an understatement. Erin Davis came to me, her former teacher, requesting help in fulfilling a goal she made: to become the youngest female aviator to circumnavigate the globe in a single-engine aircraft.
We have not had it easy in moving forward in Erin's dream but she remains undeterred. She will make this flight and she will do it because she wants to use her platform to inspire all children from all circumstances that the sky is truly the limit when it comes to reaching a goal. Recently in a speaking engagement, Erin said, "Have faith that people will help you." This is part of the message that Erin wishes to share with young kids, especially those who have been harmed and are in recovery.
As part of our work in raising funds for Erin's flight, we wish to raise awareness for the work Operation Underground Railroad does, specifically but not limited to with what happens after victims have been recovered by its Jump Teams.
Because our primary focus is to shine a light on the poor representation of women in aviation, Erin and I both feel that this is an opportunity to also raise awareness of how important it for children to see women in male-dominated professions so that the connection between empowered and educated women is a natural one. For example, when a girl has 7 years or more of education, statistically she will marry 4 years older than she would have without those years of education. And for every year of education a girl has, her future income level increases as well. In turn, this impacts the future of her community. Most importantly, the overall impact on girls when it comes to education means independence and a breakdown in systemic exploitation.
I am not naive, of course. Both Erin and I know it will take more than her flying in an airplane to destroy the evils of child exploitation. However, if we can inspire a few young girls that it is possible for them to do something like fly a plane, or to do anything that they think might be impossible for them, while we are passing out O.U.R. fliers or helping at another event, than we will be thrilled.
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