Much like pilots and mechanics fulfilling different and equally important roles in any aviation operation, as does AWAM and WAI in the aviation industry.
WAI was founded by pilots to support women in aviation and their focus has remained centered around flight operations throughout the years. AWAM was founded at the WAI conference in 1997 to fill the need for an organization devoted to the unique needs of women in aviation maintenance. While WAI has expanded to incorporate other sectors of aviation, what many people do not know is they count on AWAM to provide maintenance content for their organization. From panels and presentations at the national conference, to many magazine interviews and maintenance related activities for Girls in Aviation Day, WAI depends on its partnership with AWAM to address the maintenance community.
AWAM is a smaller organization and is run 100% by volunteers. Unlike WAI, no committee member, chapter leader, or national board member receives any compensation for the work and time they put in to championing women in aviation maintenance. AWAM is led by passionate women and men who devote evenings, weekends, vacations, and breaks to putting our programs together. Travel costs are out of our own pockets, event supplies often are too. Donations from our corporate partnerships do not pay anyone’s salary. They go directly into our scholarship, mentoring, and outreach programs and our most basic operating costs, like web hosting and the costs of our exhibit booth at WAI. We manage to do a lot with a little and can do so much more with increased industry support.
WAI does great work in our industry, and has helped level the playing field and provide inspiration for many young women to consider careers in aviation. Just as pilots have specific needs, so do mechanics. No aviation operation can be run with just one or the other, and neither can industry involvement.
So when the question arises, should the industry support WAI or AWAM?
The answer is, both.