30 Over 30: Amelia Earhart

In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman ever to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She was awarded the National Geographic Society’s gold medal – by President Herbert Hoover – as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress, for her feat. That same year, she became the first woman to fly solo nonstop cross country. Three years later, she became the first person ever to fly solo across the Pacific from Honolulu to Oakland, to pilot a civilian aircraft carrying a two-way radio, and to make the trek alone, by air, from L.A. to Mexico City. Her first eye-catching feat–becoming the first woman to traverse the Atlantic by air–however, was accomplished in June, 1928–nearly a year after she had turned 30.

Aside from her impressive aviation record, I admire Amelia Earhart because she was an early advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, because after quitting medical school at Columbia, she worked as a photographer, stenographer, and truck driver to save money for flying lessons, and because she spent a year-long convalescence (recovering from pneumonia) studying mechanics, reading poetry, and learning to play the banjo. And, ok, because her high school yearbook described her as “The girl in brown who walks alone.”

In her writings about her travels, Amelia Earhart offers advice relevant not only to women seeking to pilot planes, but also to people in general on the fence about taking risks. For example, she reminds us to stop worrying: “…decide…whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying….” venture, despite the risk of failure: “Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others,” and, perhaps relevant to our post last week, dive in: “The most effective way to do it is to do it.”

Not surprisingly, her curiosity, bravery, and can-do attitude have captured the imagination of many.

Thank you, Amelia!

To read about more women making critical contributions – even after age 30 – follow @shespoised on twitter, or like She’s Poised on Facebook (and select Get Notifications from the drop down menu).

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