Celebrating the tenacity of women and girls on the International Day of the Girl

Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-11 18:08:43-04

NEW YORK — Delta flies from Salt Lake City to Houston every day, but one recent trip was a little different, packed with girls getting a behind-the-scenes lesson about aviation.

It's even more fitting Friday — the International Day of the Girl.

The airline took 120 girls between 12 to 18 to NASA's Johnson Space Center last week for International Girls in Aviation Day. The event was designed to encourage more women to enter the male-dominated field, Delta said in a statement.

The UN declared International Day of the Girl in 2012, and it is observed every October 11.

The girls that boarded the flight, who came from area STEM schools (Science Technology Engineering Math), got to see women run all aspects of their flight, Delta said. The plane had an all-female pilot and flight crew, ramp agents and gate agents on the ground, and women in the control tower giving pilots instructions.

"We know representation matters. At Delta, we believe you have to see it to be it," said Beth Poole, general manager of pilot development, who started the program in 2015. "We're taking ownership to improve gender diversity by exposing girls at a young age and providing a pipeline so that 10 years from now, they will be the pilots in the Delta cockpit inspiring generations of women who follow."

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, posted a video on Instagram marking the holiday.

In the clip, Meghan urges girls around the world to "keep asking questions, keep pushing forward, keep shining brightly."

The clip also features a television report of Meghan as a child, in which she argues against gender stereotypes in advertising and stresses the importance of letter-writing and tackling social issues.

In the video posted Friday, Meghan says: "Every girl has potential. She has promise, she has the right to learn, the right to be heard, the right to play and to discover, the right to be exactly who she is."

Also included is a clip from her speech to a United Nations conference in 2015, when the Duchess -- then known as Meghan Markle -- was an actress on US TV show "Suits."

"It is said that girls with dreams become women with vision," she says in the speech.

On Thursday, Meghan's husband, Prince Harry, took to Instagram with singer Ed Sheeran, teaming up in a video for World Mental Health Day.