When we hear that “the sky is the limit” for women in the professional arena, sometimes it’s literally true. For organizations like The Empowering Latina Leaders Aviation Subcommittee (ELLAS), this is a new barrier to be broken.
Founded this year, ELLAS is the newest branch of the Latino Pilots Association (LPA), and its initiative aims to invest expertise and resources to support Latina pilots to succeed in the aviation industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5% of people identified as Latinas have jobs as pilots. However, the Latino community currently represents only 18.5% of the population. At Embry-Riddle, approximately 14% of pilots are Hispanic/Latino, Assistant Professor of Aeronautical Science Jorge Diaz Albelo told Victoria West for Embry-Riddle News.
“We have many Latinas in the aviation industry, but still far too few Latinas in leadership positions — and we aim to change that,” said Claudia Zapata-Cardone, United Airlines Colombian-American captain and community outreach director for the Latino Pilots Association. “If you can see it, you can achieve it. We need Latinas visible and reaching out to younger Latinas so that they can believe that there is space for them in every career they choose.”
ELLAS is now focusing on recruitment, reaching out to K-12 programs in Daytona Beach, Florida, to advocate for STEM and inspire kids of all ages to follow their dreams.
“When Latinas band together to lift each other up, we lift up the entire Latinx community,” said Zapata-Cardone. “We open doors and opportunities to careers that appear unattainable. I will not stop mentoring and inspiring other Latinas until we create an environment where seeing a Latina pilot is no longer a rare event but the norm.”
With information from Embry-Riddle News – Victoria West.