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

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