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The life and achievements of amelia earhart an american aviation pioneer and author

Whether she expressly meant to or not, Earhart broke down barriers and served as a role model for many women, not just aspiring aviators. From her first world-renowned flight across the Atlantic as a passenger, to her time spent at Purdue University as Counselor in Careers for Women, Earhart viewed her accomplishments not only as personal achievements, but as feats for women everywhere. Amelia Earhart achieved much in her short lifetime, but perhaps her greatest feat was her ability to navigate the world within gendered limitations while simultaneously defying them.

She figured out how to present herself as a barrier breaker and yet remain admired by both men and women alike.

Amelia Earhart: The Flying Feminist

As Earhart exceeded the societal expectations and norms for women of her time, she placed herself in an optimal position to become a role model for women, young and old, and to inspire a transformation in societal attitudes 2. She believed that every woman should have an equal opportunity to prove her competence, and that no one should receive preferential treatment based on his or her gender.

During interviews, reporters often asked Earhart about her clothes, her favorite recipes, and her marriage. It is hard to believe that reporters and interviewers would have posed such personal questions to her male counterparts. But Earhart was often willing to oblige. By learning to operate within the confines of her gender, she used her position to advance herself and women.

Amelia Earhart Timeline

During the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, women in the United States fought for their right to vote by organizing into groups e. In the post-suffrage era, the first wave of feminism faded. During the period between these two waves, however, movement and media reports tended to focus on the individual achievements of women, including Amelia Earhart. Amelia Earhart never claimed to be a feminist. In fact, more than once she asserted the life and achievements of amelia earhart an american aviation pioneer and author the opposite.

After completing various record-breaking flights, Earhart received hundreds of letters and telegrams congratulating her success. Everyone from pilots to political figures, family and friends, to complete strangers sent her notes of congratulations. She did not mind the constant interruptions. In fact, she seemed to enjoy them: He was, most of his life, connected with one railroad or another, and used to pack the family off when he made a trip of any consequence.

Seemingly our jaunts to California and other places did not materially hinder school progress. I think possibly I gained as much from travel as from curricula…. Paul, Chicago — forward and back. Earhart certainly enjoyed her childhood and idealized her father, despite his regular struggles with alcoholism, which frequently caused problems for his wife and children.

Luckily, Amelia Earhart was born at the end of the restrictive nineteenth century, and she grew up in a time when attitudes about women were slowly changing. During the 1910s, there were increasing opportunities for women who wished to remain unmarried and work outside the home. Two historical moments serve as important markers of this change: While Earhart did not participate in the suffrage campaign, her experiences during the war changed the course of her life 21.

After high school, Earhart and her sister both left home to attend college, Amelia at Ogontz School near Philadelphia and Muriel at St. It was during this time that Earhart first became interested in flying. She had only ever seen an airplane up close once or twice before, but the many military pilots training in the area increased her exposure. Wartime restrictions on civilian flight barred Earhart from going up in the air.

Earhart did not get the opportunity to try flying until several years after the war ended. After a brief stint at Columbia University, where she enrolled in premedical courses, she decided against becoming a doctor and moved to California to live with her parents, who needed help sustaining their failing marriage.

Sad to leave New York, Earhart planned to return to the east coast as soon as possible, but once she arrived in California, she soon fell in love with her new surroundings.

Sometime later, Earhart finally got the opportunity to go up in the air. In a residential suburb of Los Angeles, she took her first flight as a passenger alongside pilot Frank Hawks. The moment they were airborne, Earhart knew that she had found her calling. Soon after, she began working at a telephone company to pay for lessons and sought out a female flight instructor, because she felt she would be more comfortable learning from a woman.

Ironically, Earhart was not a naturally gifted flyer. In fact, she found it quite difficult. Earhart took her first lesson in January 1921 and, with the help of her parents, eventually purchased a second-hand, yellow Kinner Airster, which she named The Canary 29. It took her more than fifteen hours of chaperoned flight time, which she logged over the course of almost a year, before she finally took her first solo flight in her own plane. While learning to fly, she repeatedly had mishaps, most often during landings.

Once she decided to fly, she took it upon herself to achieve her goal. Her family and personal circumstances never deterred her from her dream of becoming a pilot. When her father insisted he could not afford flying lessons for her, she got a job to pay for them. Playing the part of an aviator, Earhart wore breeches and a leather coat and spent large amounts of time at the airfield with the male pilots and mechanics.

At the time, many considered such behavior unbecoming of a young woman.

She was aware that she had chosen a traditionally masculine pursuit, and that her involvement in the sport might attract negative attention. In The Fun of It, she wrote: Aware that what she was doing was radical, Earhart realized that in order to achieve her goals, she needed to balance her traditionally masculine interests with those described as more feminine in nature.

If she wanted to fly, she needed to work within the gendered societal limits and take small steps toward her goal; thereby making her actions more tolerable within society. Only then could she break down barriers for herself and other women 32. She was probably not expecting to be photographed right away, but after that first flight, she was photographed everywhere she went.

He was speaking, of course, about a transatlantic flight. Earhart responded to that call. It did not phase Earhart that Railey only extended her an invitation to join Wilmer Schultz and Lou Gordon because of her gender. Nor did she complain upon learning that, unlike the men, she would not receive compensation for her efforts. The irony is that, even though she was a strong advocate for women, in many ways her accomplishments were only remarkable because of the very fact that she was a woman.

  1. In fact, more than once she asserted just the opposite.
  2. Constant, positive publicity was essential to her ability to secure funding for her flights, and Putnam filled that role.
  3. Commercial airlines began to hire women aviators, such as Earhart, to convince the mainstream public, especially women, of the merits of flying. In the early years of commercial airlines, much of the public harbored an aversion to flying.

She became an instant hero and role model to many women. She never returned to settlement work and instead took to touring the country, giving lectures about women in the workplace and in the field of aviation. This thought I have tried to bring out at every opportunity.

Though palpably unfair, the circumstance was unavoidable. Earhart recognized that she received undue credit. Yet, she was also savvy and realized that the circumstances ended up working in her favor. Whether or not Earhart felt that she had actually proven what women pilots were capable of, she recognized that the expedition had been a success.

  1. She encouraged other women to seek careers outside the home and be independent from their husbands.
  2. By the time she attempted to fly around the world in 1937, Earhart had not only made a profound impact on Purdue University, but Purdue had definitely deeply influenced her life too.
  3. This thought I have tried to bring out at every opportunity.
  4. She became an instant hero and role model to many women. Ruth Nichols quoted in Ware, Still Missing, 127.

Throughout her career, Earhart repeatedly received opportunities and recognition, such as her involvement with the Friendship, for no other reason than she was a successful woman in a traditionally male field, but she accepted this fact and learned to use it to her advantage. This new life in the limelight caught Earhart somewhat unprepared. After writing 20 Hrs.

Should I return to social work or find something to do in aviation? For the moment all I wished to do in the world was to be a vagabond — in the air. She received numerous offers of employment during her transcontinental jaunt, and when Ray Long, editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, asked her to join the staff as Aviation Editor, she accepted.

In writing for Cosmopolitan, Earhart found the perfect outlet for her feminist ideas. During the life and achievements of amelia earhart an american aviation pioneer and author time at the magazine, she wrote a monthly column offering thoughts on aviation and responding to letters from readers 41.

The way Earhart presented herself to the public was crucial to her feminist persona. From her physical appearance to the subject of her lectures, Earhart maintained a very specific public image.

He assessed her traits and offered suggestions when he found a particular aspect of her image that he felt needed to be changed. Putnam coached Earhart on public speaking, the best way to pose for photographs, and even suggested she change her smile. Considering that Earhart described herself as a strong, independent woman, it seems out of character for Earhart to allow Putnam to have so much control over her actions.

Yet, she was only doing what was necessary to retain her authority and popularity among the public. In other ways, Earhart proved that she was more than capable of standing up to Putnam.

In Soaring Wings, Putnam wrote: Temperamentally she had a healthy distaste for the implication of being led around by the hand. Yet no client of any counselor ever received counsel more reasonably — or, on occasion, refused with more firmness to act on it!

Despite her determination to manage her own life, Earhart relied on Putnam to maintain her popularity and to attract donors and sponsors for her adventures. Constant, positive publicity was essential to her ability to secure funding for her flights, and Putnam filled that role. He exploited every opportunity to gain publicity for Earhart, and although she may not have enjoyed it, she acknowledged that it was necessary if she wanted to keep flying.

Earhart was prepared to do whatever it took, not simply because she loved it, but as a way for her to prove that women were capable of the same things as men.

In order to supplement her income, which consisted of endorsements, compensation for her contributions to Cosmopolitan, and royalties from her book, Earhart traveled around the country giving lectures about opportunities for women in aviation, her own flying adventures, politics, and her thoughts on equality.

Sporting a naturally friendly disposition, Earhart connected easily with many of her audiences. She would, often, then inquire how many audience members had flown, as a way to transition into her favorite topic.

Amelia Earhart Timeline for Students, Children & Kids

Earhart usually touched on the importance of allowing children to fly, citing a few statistics that proved that flying was safer than driving. She then described her own flying adventures. After such a generic introduction, one that she repeated to almost every group she addressed, Earhart then tailored the subject of the rest of her speech to the specific audience. When speaking to such groups, she discussed her philosophy about the rights and responsibilities of being a woman, namely that women needed to stand up for themselves and assert their independence.

While male pilots outnumbered women aviators in the 1920s and 1930s forty to one, according to a statistic that Earhart often cited in her lectureswomen still played important, albeit often superficial, roles in the popularization of commercial aviation 48. In the early years of commercial airlines, much of the public harbored an aversion to flying. Although the airplane had proven to be a relatively safe, practical, and reliable means of transportation, both for goods and passengers, airlines had trouble selling enough tickets to continue operating.