Amelia Earhart is the most famous Zontian since the organization was founded in 1919. And January is Celebrate Amelia Earhart Month at Zonta International.
EARHART FORGED SKY CAREERS FOR WOMEN
Earhart achieved many firsts, including achievements in aviation, commerce, and public relations. From the Family of Amelia Earhart website we learn that Amelia, born in 1897, first became acquainted with flying at age 10 at a state fair:
She said as the pilot swooped down to scare her and her friend, she believed “that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by.” She went up in an airplane for the first time in 1920 and “knew that I had to fly.”
She started flying lessons in 1921 and within six months had saved enough money to buy her first plane.
In 1928, she joined two male aviators to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.
In 1932, five years after Charles Lindbergh had flown from New York to Paris, she tried to fly solo from Newfoundland to Paris. However, terrible weather conditions and mechanical problems forced her down in Ireland. It was still celebrated as a cross-Atlantic flight, making her the second pilot and first woman to achieve the journey. Earhart felt the flight proved that men and women were equal in “jobs requiring intelligence, coordination, speed, coolness, and willpower.”
In succeeding years, she flew higher than anyone had before and was the first person in 1935 to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu to Oakland, CA.
Her final flight occurred in 1937 when she had flown 22,000 miles of her 29,000 mile journey around the world. She and her navigator Fred Noonan took off from Lae, New Guinea for Howland Island, some 2,556 miles distant. However, cloudy weather made celestial navigation impossible and her plane went down short of Howland Island, never to be found.
In a letter to her husband, written in case a dangerous flight proved to be her last, her brave spirit was clear. “Please know I am quite aware of the hazards,” she said. “I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”
Because her impact for changing the rules for women to aspire to challenges previously reserved to men, Zonta International “established the Amelia Earhart Fellowship in 1938 in her honor to assist the future of women in aviation and other aerospace-related sciences and engineering. Today, the Fellowship of US$10,000 is awarded annually to 35 talented women, pursuing Ph.D./doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering around the globe.”
EARHART BELIEVED THAT WOMEN NEEDED TO BE ECONOMICALLY INDEPENDENT
We pulled a 3 minute video of Amelia Earhart narrating the economic benefits of women in science and aviation from the ZI website to embed below.
We are honored to have Keith Law, Clearwater librarian and historian on Amelia Earhart come to our Club meeting on January 31 to talk about Earhart’s life and many achievements. Please come to:
Grimaldi’s at Countryside Mall
27001 US Highway 19 North, Clearwater
6:00 PM for dinner
Mr. Law’s presentation will follow dinner
Please use our contact form to reserve seats for yourself and others. Grimaldi designates a private room and staff person for our meetings/meals. Each person pays her own expenses. Menu and prices available here. We request a $5 donation to the Club to help show our appreciation to Mr. Law, too.
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Picture of Amelia Earhart in flight suit from http://www.ameliaearhart.com/
Picture of Amelia Earhart in cockpit from Zonta International
Views expressed in this blog post are mine and may not reflect the stance of the Zonta Club of Pinellas County or Zonta International. — Doris Reeves-Lipscomb