Today, July 24th, is National Amelia Earhart Day, which is also her birthday—she would have been 118. I was moved to write this post because of my appreciation for what an incredible person Amelia Earhart was and what she accomplished for generations of women who followed in her footsteps by working in traditionally male-dominated fields.
Amelia is one of those people in history that never ceases to fascinate. She is infinite and has never gone out of style because she still represents the battle for equality that has continued to this day. She wanted to inspire women, so she worked at Purdue University to offer women career counseling, joined the Women’s National Party and supported the Equal Rights Amendment. For her, this battle was more of a challenge. In a letter to her husband before her last flight she wrote, "Please know I am quite aware of the hazards” […]"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." She set the bar for us ladies back in the 1930’s and in OUR own shared honor as women we must keep raising it!
There was a recent article on CNN that released unseen footage of Amelia in California before her last Circumnavigation attempt that shows her smart, confident and stunningly elegant. I look up to her bravery and mater-of-factness-- I think she is the coolest and I love having Amelia as a role model especially in what I do for a living. One of my favorite facts that I learned about Amelia today is that she kept a scrapbook of information about “successful women in predominately male-oriented fields”. (1) I am by no means the only female ‘salvager’ but I am very aware of the fact that it is still a male dominated field. When I began working on salvage jobs I wanted to do everything in my power to prove that I wasn’t a “girl” about getting dirty and working manual labor. I wanted to blend in with the guys as much as possible so people wouldn’t judge me until I realized, I am female and that’s okay! I can accomplish the tasks in my own way and have a different perspective on situations and I should feel proud of that. Upon this realization I feel very privileged to be able to do what I do. Like Amelia said, “I want to do it because I want to do it”.