Category: Girls Fly Too

My moderate gender bias

“Your data suggest a moderate association of Male with Science and Female with Humanities compared to Female with Science and Male with Humanities.”

I took the Implicit Association Test (IAT) today. It was created by researchers to explore our unconscious thoughts and feelings. The goal of the test is to uncover what you know about your own mind, and what you think you know about your own mind, and measure the distance between them.

The IAT was suggested to me by a colleague at the recent Canadian Institute of Mining convention. I had attended a couple of panel sessions on inclusion and diversity in mining, and was frustrated by the lack of progress, particularly for women in mining. I wanted to know what companies were doing about it. This colleague works for a mining company who put the senior management team through unconscious bias training a year earlier, and pointed me to the IAT test on the Harvard University website.

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Taking to the skies for girls in STEM

One excited co-pilot

Fewer than five per cent of pilots, flight engineers, and flight instructors are female*. That’s 19 men for every one women flying a fixed-wing plane or helicopter, maintaining an aircraft, or teaching a class of new aviators. As with so many male-dominated industries, female role models for young women dreaming of taking to the skies are scarce. “You can’t be what you can’t see” is the mantra. So, in 2012, Kirsten Brazier, a fixed-wing and helicopter pilot, founded “The Sky’s No Limit – Girls Fly Too” to energize more girls and women to discover the opportunities available to them in aviation, aerospace and space.

“From shop floor to top floor, we’re inspiring future leaders!” says Brazier.

Kirsten Brazier is a fixed-wing and helicopter pilot and founder of the Girls Fly Too event

The annual event is held at Abbotsford airport, about an hour east of Vancouver, B.C. A free helicopter flight for first-time female fliers is the highlight of the event for most attendees, but there are also the opportunities to peek inside the coast guard helicopter, watch a police dog at work, or even meet a real astronaut.

When my family and I first went to the event in March 2015, my daughter was four and a half. Two years later, she still remembers her flight, getting her face painted, and learning to pop-rivet! (more…)