Film & TV
Defying Gravity: The Trailblazing Women of Aviation
February 3, 2024
The history of women in aviation is a testament to the relentless pursuit for gender equality in a field traditionally dominated by men. The early 20th century marked the emergence of pioneering female aviators who defied societal norms and soared into the skies. One of the most famous trailblazers was Amelia Earhart, who captured the world's imagination with her solo transatlantic flight in 1932. As women continued to break barriers, World War II provided a turning point, with the formation of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) in the United States, where female pilots played crucial roles in ferrying planes and testing new aircraft.
Despite the progress made during the war, women still faced challenges in gaining equal opportunities in aviation post-World War II. However, the perseverance of individuals like Jacqueline Cochran and Jerrie Cobb paved the way for more inclusivity. The 1960s witnessed the first female airline pilots, breaking through the gender barrier in commercial aviation. This momentum continued, leading to the historic moment in 1983 when astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. Since then, numerous female astronauts, including Eileen Collins, Peggy Whitson, and Mae Jemison, have ventured beyond Earth's atmosphere, inspiring generations and showcasing the remarkable achievements of women in aviation, both in the skies and among the stars.
As part of our current History, Space and Technology auction – open for bidding online now – we are offering two items representing the impactful legacy of women in aviation, including a rare cloche hat from 1933, designed by Amelia Earhart and marketed in an effort to raise funds for her ill-fated attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Also on offer is a large-format color photo print showing the Hubble Telescope in orbit above the Earth, hand signed by astronaut Dr. Kathryn Sullivan a specialist on the Space Shuttle mission which deployed the telescope. Years earlier, in 1984, Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space.