Final Day of Women's History Month: One More Personal Story on the Power of Female Representation
The last time I flew, I had a soul-charging experience with two women pioneers in a male-dominated industry.
I was sitting in the noisy, packed boarding area in Boston Logan International Airport, waiting to board the first of two flights home to Bozeman, Montana. Then, something weird happened…everyone got quiet. When I looked up to see what was going on, the crowd was turned in the same direction. I saw what they were watching and chills ran down my spine. I was absolutely captivated.
Two women pilots, dressed impeccably in their full pilot attire, were striding towards the gate. They were walking so confidently, so proudly, it seemed as though they were floating. They had magnetic presence. They didn’t say a word, yet everyone stopped what they were doing to watch them walk by. It was a moment of silent reverence. A collective respect filled the air. I felt my eyes burn and tears well up. Never in my life had I seen even one woman pilot, let alone two (AND let alone fly with a woman pilot). They earned this moment of awe: only 5% of all airline pilots are women.
To all women pioneers blazing trail in male-dominated industries: a reminder that women young and old are watching and respecting what you are doing for this world. You are providing all-powerful representation. Your actions and your presence are communicating loud and clear: “You belong here." When in doubt, remember: you are an inspiration, even when it doesn't feel like it. You are making a difference, even if you can't see it in the day to day. You are creating change one seismic shift at a time.
If it had been appropriate to walk up to them and give an outpouring of my heartfelt gratitude, I would have. I had to let the United Airlines post-flight survey suffice. To the United Airlines pilots of UA 2350 BOS to DEN on December 26th, 2019: I send my most sincere, heartfelt thank you.