women in aviation and space history

National Air and Space Museum visitors frequently ask, "Where are the women pilots?" The answer is that they are in nearly every gallery of the Museum. This guide will lead you to all the women (who are or have been included by name, artifact, or photograph) in the Museum's exhibits. Women's participation and contributions are noted from our Early Flight gallery (107) to Space Race (114), from the earliest female pioneers to racing pilots to the first female commercial pilots to women in space.

Although women have flown since 1908, nearly all of them were restricted to general aviation, i.e. private planes, or support jobs, (prior to the 1970s) and our exhibits reflect those historical roles. However, women have now gained full access to military and commercial cockpits, as well as the Space Shuttle and aerospace technology, and as we update old and create new exhibits, we will review and include the growing contributions of women throughout the Museum. Enjoy the tour.

Smithsonian Activities & Educator Resources | Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators

Portrait of Bernetta Miller
Bernetta Miller
Portrait of Geraldine Mock
Geraldine Mock
Portrait of Matilde Moisant
Matilde Moisant
Portrait of Ruth Nichols
Ruth Nichols
Portrait of Blanche Noyes
Blanche Noyes
Portrait of Therese Peltier
Therese Peltier
Portrait of Harriet Quimby
Harriet Quimby
Portrait of Bessica Raiche
Bessica Raiche
Portrait of Dr. Sally Ride
Dr. Sally Ride
Portrait of Dr. Vera Cooper Rubin
Dr. Vera Cooper Rubin
Portrait of Blanche Stuart Scott
Blanche Stuart Scott
Portrait of Betty Skelton
Betty Skelton
Portrait of Elinor Smith
Elinor Smith
Portrait of Ida Van Smith
Ida Van Smith
Portrait of Katherine Stinson
Katherine Stinson
Portrait of Marjorie Stinson
Marjorie Stinson
Portrait of Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Tereshkova
Portrait of Louise Thaden
Louise Thaden
Portrait of Patty Wagstaff
Patty Wagstaff
Portrait of Emily Howell Warner
Emily Howell Warner
Portrait of Turi Wideroe
Turi Wideroe
Portrait of Jeana Yeager
Jeana Yeager