It is no secret that men hegemonize the aviation industry. “Step back and let the men deal with it”; a thought that is cliché in the heads of women in modern society. During World War II, the pilots of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) stepped up to the plate with the same ideology. However, flying was not the subject being visualized as the “job for men”. It was the combat.
With more than 1,000 pilots standing by their name, the Women of the WASP body were making history. The women of the WASP took on the task of flying to allow the men to assist in ground combat. The aircrafts the Women were asked to fly were the B-17, B-26 and B-29 bombers. Not equipped with technology you would find on modern military aircrafts, the bombers required a lot of physical strength to control. Weighed down by its hydraulic cables, machine guns and bombs, piloting the Flying Fortress was a challenge to all pilots. However, the bravery and perseverance of the individuals enlisted to the WASP, allowed the United States Airforce to be as strong as it was in World War II.
The World War II era reminisces gender bias. It was a big deal to allow women to pilot aircrafts, in the mentality that was possessed in days of World War II. Such was the case that most of the pilots of the WASP were refused jobs by commercial airlines, regardless of their experience, but in regard to their gender. Furthermore, documents regarding the WASP were sealed and stored in an undisclosed archive. It was in 1977 that the pilots of the WASP were officially considered a part of the US military and given military status.
This epoch was important and stood as a major milestone to the aviation industry. Three decades after the Wright Brothers took flight in North Carolina, the pilots of the WASP took on a task which demonstrated to the world that flying has no gender limitations. Overtime, as every nation sustained the privilege of flight, “boundaries”, which were no more than products of cliché imagination, faded, establishing that flying is for everyone.
by Andrew Abeysekera