200,000 Girlguides with have the chance to earn the badge which is hoped will encourage more girls into aviation and to lay the foundation for a future career as a pilot.
Easyjet has set a target for 20% of its new entrant pilots to be female by 2020.
To earn the badge, the girls will challenge themselves to think of 40 things that fly along with putting their engineering skills to the test by creating their own aircraft experiments with different building materials, structures and launch techniques.
The partnership is the first of many to be announced by Girlguiding as they overhaul the badges and activities which will available to earn.
A survey of Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitudes found:
- Becoming a pilot was named as being a dream job amongst 7-10 year old girls
- 15% of 7-10 year old girls believe STEM subjects have the image of being more for boys, compared to over half (52%) of 11-21 year old girls
- 76% of 7-10 year old girls feel encouraged when they see a woman doing a job they want to do
- 42% (7-10) and 63% (11-21) girls would like to be a leader in their chosen job.
The partnership is part of EasyJet‘s Amy Johnson Flying Initiative which has the intention of matching local Girlguiding units with pilot speakers. Easyjet pilots including many female pilots have visited over 140 schools and colleges to raise the profile of the career since the initiative started in 2015.
Captain Marnie Munns, lead pilot for easyJet’s Amy Johnson Flying Initiative commented: “As part of our Amy Johnson Initiative, we have always believed in the importance of role models, which is why we are really excited about partnering with Girlguiding, to engage with groups of young people in schools and other organisations to inspire and educate them about aviation.
“My grandfather was a pilot and my parents were incredibly supportive of my career choices so it is thanks to the roles models I had that I am where I am today.”
Captain Kate McWilliams, easyJet pilot and former Brownie commented: “I joined the air cadets when I was 13 where I got plenty of flying experience. However it was a lot later when I imagined a career in commercial aviation as I didn’t know any commercial pilots who I could ask for advice. I never even thought it could be an option available to me.
“Having been a Brownie myself I am delighted that this new aviation badge will engage girls in the career from an early age. I love being a commercial pilot for easyJet, it’s a fantastic career and anyone with an interest should consider it.”
Jess Bond, a lead volunteer at Girlguiding commented: “We are incredibly excited to be working with easyJet to empower the next generation of girls and young women to start a career in aviation.
“We know from our research that younger girls aspire to all types of careers, including becoming a pilot. However in reality only 4% of pilots are women. Our partnership will help to tackle the gender stereotypes girls often face as they get older, providing them with relevant skills and building confidence ready for the future to make dream careers become a reality.”
Brownie Emma, 9 said: “I’m so excited for the new Aviation badge and to learn more about flying and being a pilot. It’s really great that we get to find out about exciting jobs we could do in the future.”