The International Aviation Womens Association (IAWA) began in 1988 when a group of professional women, all working in the aviation industry met socially. When the conversation turned to industry issues, they recognized that in a largely male business, the unique dynamics and perspective of women professionals on these topics were useful to them.
A core list of executives was invited to help form IAWA for the purpose of advancing women in businesses related to aviation. The original group represented the aviation litigation, defense, manufacturing and insurance fields. Today, members also serve in airport operations, airline and aerospace management, senior government roles, consulting, engineering, finance and regulatory positions - reflecting the breadth of accomplishment of women in aviation and aerospace since IAWA’s birth.
The founding membership of IAWA met at its first conference in Chicago in November of 1989 to adopt by-laws and form a board of directors. The IAWA annual conferences, held in major cities around the world, have become a prestigious forum for sharing views on important matters to the industry and, in general, to women.
In the almost 30 years since its founding, IAWA's history, as reflected in its conference topics, has mirrored the history of the industry itself. IAWA also hosts regional Connects and Receptions in conjunction with other aviation conferences so that its members may maintain contact between conferences.
The list of speakers who have addressed IAWA Conferences is also impressive. The diverse lineup includes an FAA administrator, a U.S. Senator, an astronaut, a member of the European Parliament, and a chief legal counsel and a medical director for major airlines. Recent speakers include Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, the first female government minister of the UAE and Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the United States Air Force.
IAWA's volunteer board of directors and committee members, in spite of demanding careers and lives, take the time to assure the high quality of the organization's programs and membership.