How Amelia Earhart Paved the Way for Female Aviators 

Gabriele Mutschelknaus, Staff Writer

Amelia Earhart was a courageous woman who dared to reach new heights in the aviation field; she changed the way people perceived women flying at this period in time. For this reason, we honor her during National Women’s History Month.

Born on July 27th, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, to her parents Amy Otis and Edwin Stanton Earhart, this famous aviator was adventurous and had an independent nature (Britannica). Her family had moved often, but during her high school years they had settled down in Chicago, Illinois, where she had graduated from Hyde Park High School (PBS). 

After graduation, Earhart moved to Rydal, Pennsylvania, and attended Ogontz Finishing School, excelling in her courses and becoming vice president of her class (PBS). Her path took a different direction, however, after visiting her sister in Canada, where she soon became interested in caring for wounded World War I soldiers (Learnodo). As a result, Earhart moved to Toronto to be a nurse’s aid. During this time, whenever she found free time, she would spend it watching pilots in the Royal Flying Corps train at a local airfield (History). This sparked her interest in aviation; however, after the war, she had enrolled at Columbia University as a pre-med student for the fall semester of 1919 (PBS). 

During her first year at Columbia, she attended an air show in California with her father, alongside Frank Hawks, a famous World War I aviator. That day marked Earhart’s first time riding in an airplane, and because of this moment, she became hooked on flying (History). 

Soon after her experience at the air show, Earhart took up flying lessons. Because these lessons were expensive, she had to work a variety of odd jobs including being a truck driver, a photographer, and a stenographer (PBS). After about six months, she had the money to pay for her first plane, a yellow Kinner Airster Biplane that she named “The Canary” because of its yellow color (History). 

One year later she passed her flying license test, and only two days after this she attended her first flight exhibition in Pasadena, California (Britannica). Soon after, Earhart began making history by setting a number of records in her short but well lived career, including becoming the first woman to reach the altitude of 14,000 feet flying solo in 1922 (Learnodo). In 1932 she was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean, and the second person ever to do this, leaving Newfoundland, Canada and arriving in Northern Ireland (Learnodo). 

Only a couple years later she became the first woman to fly solo across North America and back (PBS). Throughout this time period she earned numerous awards for her accomplishments, such as The Distinguished Flying Cross, a gold medal from National Geographic, and much more (PBS).

Reaching the pinnacle of her career also marked the end of her career. In a second attempt to fly completely around the world, Earhart ran into trouble during one of the legs of the flight. Unfortunately on July 2nd, 1937, Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan had departed from Lae in an attempt to land in Howland Island, in the Pacific Ocean (Britannica). The pair was not able to find the island and lost radio signal with the Coast Guard; after this had happened “President Roosevelt issued a massive search,” and Earhart’s husband had put all his finances into a private search (PBS). Unfortunately the pair were never found, creating one of the world’s biggest mysteries even to this day. Amelia Earhart was declared legally dead by the Los Angeles Court in 1939, 2 years after her disappearance (PBS). 

Despite her death Amelia Earhart’s impact has made an everlasting change for women all around the world not only in aviation but in how people perceive women as leaders, explorers, and adventurers who are filled with courage, curiosity, and confidence. 


Citation Information:


Article Title: Amelia Earhart 1897-1937 

Author: Editors of PBS

Website Name: PBS 


Access date: 2/20/23

Publisher: PBS

Last updated: 

Original Publish date: 


Article Title: 10 Major Accomplishments of Amelia Earhart 

Author: Anirudh

Website Name: Learnodo


Access date: 2/26/23


Last updated: 

Original Publish date: August 24th, 2017 


Article Title: Amelia Earhart

Author: editors 

Website Name: History 


Access date: 2/21/23

Publisher: History

Last updated: March 9th, 2022

Original Publish date: November 9th, 2009


Article Title: Amelia Earhart-American Aviator 

Author: The editors of Encyclopedia Britannica 

Website Name: Encyclopedia Britannica 


Access date: 2/29/23


Last updated: December 2nd 2022

Original Publish date: October 1st, 1999



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File name of Image: National Geographic Gold Medal.png

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