You might know that Amelia Earhart was the first woman to cross the Atlantic solo and that she disappeared during her attempted flight around the world, but you probably don’t realize just how much of a big deal she was.
Amelia was the best. She did so many amazing things with her endless appetite for adventure, and had so much swag that they probably had to wipe it off of her propellers every time she landed.
Don’t believe us? Well we’re going through photos from her life to give you nine reasons why Amelia was a very big deal.
1. She was a WWI hero.
After seeing injured soldiers returning from the war, Amelia volunteered as a nurse in a Toronto hospital, treating wounded warriors and working arduous night shifts. At the hospital, she contracted the Spanish Flu, which took her a full year to recover from, but the grisly hospital work and sickness didn’t break her spirits. She spent that year of recovery studying mechanics, poetry and learning to play the banjo.
2. She helped create American flight travel.
Amelia invested time and funding into creating the very first regional shuttle service between New York and Washington, DC. She was the first female vice president of the National Aeronautic Association, she lobbied Congress for aviation legislation, held positions with two airlines and helped found two others.
3. She was a gritty competitor.
Amelia was a serious flyer, and she wasn’t afraid to compete against the best. In 1929, the first Women’s Air Derby was held, in which she raced across the US against other tough female flyers, like the cigar-smoking Pancho Barnes.
4. She co-founded a female pilots gang called the 99s.
Amelia Earhart assembled with the top female pilots and started an organization to support women in aviation around the world. They called themselves the totally awesome name of the Ninety Nines, which she came up with. Though they started with ninety-nine members, today, they are more than 6,000 strong.
5. She was an educator.
Amelia Earhart joined the faculty of Purdue University in 1935 as a technical advisor to the Department of Aeronautics and to counsel women on careers. Not only did she lecture on aerial navigation, but she helped women apply their degrees to pursue their own independent careers.
6. A fashion designer and entrepreneur.
Earhart sewed her own clothes for most of her life, and she used her fame to launch her own fashion line. She became a fashion icon and her clothes were sold in department stores across America. Her clothes were sleek and feminine, as well as suited for an active life. She branded them “A.E.,” the nickname her friends and family called her.
7. The first woman to cross the Atlantic solo.
On the morning of May 20, 1932, a 34-year-old Amelia Earhart departed from Newfoundland, Canada to attempt a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. When she touched down in a field in Derry, Ireland, 15 hours later, she became the first woman and second person to cross the Atlantic Ocean. When an Irish farmer in the field asked her if she’d flown far, she answered, “from America.”
8. A fierce voice for women’s rights.
Amelia Earhart used her celebrity to become a strong advocate for the women’s movement. She was a member of the National Woman’s Party and she encouraged young girls to take control of their lives, education and careers. She also lobbied fearlessly for birth control rights.
9. A world record machine.
Amelia Earhart was a true pioneer who set many records and firsts for women and aviation. In addition to her famous solo flight across the Atlantic, Amelia set various speed and altitude records among women and across gender lines. She was also the first woman to fly solo across the US, and the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the US mainland as well as from Mexico City to New Jersey.
We told you she was the best, but we know that y’all are amazing too. If you’re pushing boundaries in your community, show us by sharing your shots on PicsArt photo editor with the hashtag #Pioneer.