Since 2014, every October 5, Delta and United Airlines celebrate International Girls in Aviation Day with a program they call WING – Women Inspiring our Next Generation. Evert year, the airlines operate a few all-women-staffed flights to NASA in Houston. The flights are filled with teenage girls between the ages of 12 and 18, selected from the country’s best female science students. Upon touchdown in Houston, the young women are given a tour of NASA’s Mission Control Center, the Johnson Space Center, and Space Center Houston. The students also attend a luncheon with female astronauts and NASA engineers, during which they hear the aviation professionals’ inspiring stories.
*Although Delta and United celebrate on October 5, according to WAI.org, the official Annual Girls in Aviation day is actually on September 26.
Of course, 2020 being what it is, the celebrations had to go virtual this year, but they’re still making a difference. In 2017, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aeronautical Center, only 7% of pilots and astronauts were women. In 2020, women comprise 12.49% of aviation students. Delta Airlines hosts this day every year to continue to move that number.