Skip to content

Celebrating women in aviation

Tsawwassen pilot Mireille Goyer is hoping more females give industry a try
Mireille Goyer continues to campaign for gender balance in the aviation industry.

Everybody remembers his or her first time on an airplane. For Mireille Goyer, she was 20 and on a flight from her home in France to Los Angeles.

The Tsawwassen pilot is the founder and president of the Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW), a not-for-profit alliance fostering gender balance in the aviation industry by building awareness through initiatives such as the upcoming Women of Aviation Worldwide Week and Fly It Forward.

Goyer still cites her mother, who had never flown before, as the biggest influence for her love of flying while growing up.

"For some odd reason, she thought that flying was the coolest thing you could do, and never missed an opportunity to share that with her children," says Goyer.

She decided to take things into her own hands and learned to fly while living in L.A., which provided opportunities for quick getaways.

Eventually, in 2005, one of those trips brought Goyer north to where she now calls home, Tsawwassen.

In 2009, as March 8 approached, Goyer grew anxious with the excitement of celebrating the centennial of the first female pilot license. However, once the day came, Goyer discovered there was nothing planned to commemorate this groundbreaking moment in history.

"I couldn't let that go," she says. "I had invested too much to have such a milestone for all women like me completely ignored by my industry."

It inspired Goyer's vision for iWOAW.

"All we ask is not for them to become a pilot or become anything, but to give it a shot," says Goyer, who looks forward to encouraging more girls and women to try something new.

While the number of women employed as pilots and aircraft mechanics is still less than 10 per cent, the industry has seen an increase from previous years. iWOAW hopes to see more opportunities as local airports and schools raise awareness.

During the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week from March 7 to 13, iWOAW is offering scholarships and prizes for girls and women who take part by flying in a small aircraft. Visit WomenOfAviationWeek. org for more information on events, locations and prizes.