Future female pilots take-off with the Royal Flying Doctor Service

Date published

15 Mar 2019

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) are teaming up with STEM engagement specialists She Maps to give young women the opportunity to be drone pilots for the day. The high-flyers will be introduced to engineering and aviation, encouraging them to explore a career with the RFDS.

The Flying Doctor Service will be dedicating their Rockhampton base to the prospective female pilots and engineers from local schools on the morning of Monday the 18th
of March. Dr Karen Joyce, Senior Lecturer at James Cook University & Education Director for She Maps will take them from micro drone lift off to landing and they’ll even carry out an aerial surveillance operation.

Dr Joyce says it’s a fantastic opportunity to encourage girls to broaden their minds to prospective careers. “Two thirds of children aged nine to eleven draw a man when asked to draw a scientist and only 16% of university and VET STEM graduates are female. Gender bias begins in Primary School, including girls’ perceptions around their future in a STEM career. If we, as a country, are going to equip our children (of both sexes) for the future, then engagement is needed from primary school through high school and into tertiary education.”

Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Queensland CEO Meredith Staib is also keen to encourage women into these traditionally male dominated fields. “The RFDS’ most recent workplace gender diversity report, showed that our workforce is 55% female and 45% male. This is a reflection from our board down and we are committed to continue our focus on gender biases particularly as leaders in both medicine and aviation. Our female engineers, aviators and tech specialists are vital to the RFDS’ future.” Meredith says working with She Maps is also part of a conscious effort to futureproof the organisation, not just in diversity and gender equality, but through innovation too. “Our founder, Rev John Flynn was a pioneer. We’ve just celebrated our 90th birthday and we are dedicated to carrying on his vision as an innovator”.

The day will be part of a month-long roadshow for She Maps as they visit schools across the state. Later in the year, the organisation will continue to encourage STEM engagement alongside the RFDS as part of their field days.

About She Maps
She Maps are an organisation who are on a mission to increase diversity in STEM, through the magic of drones and geospatial science. They run programs for students and teachers to increase their confidence and awareness of STEM based career opportunities. Their programs are designed by qualified teachers and tertiary educators, mapped against the Australian Curriculum and the Digital Technologies subject. Find out more at shemaps.com

Edwina Stott - Publicist
0447 286 038 / estott@rfdsqld.com.au