Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We've Come A Long Way, Baby!

My "other job," non-remunerative, I hasten to add, is writing and editing Reflections, the quarterly newsletter of the NWA History Centre. While doing research for the March, 2010 issue, I came across this gem in the NWA H.C. archives. The weekly NWA employee newsletter, named "NEWS Letter," funnily enough, and dated December 28, 1944, featured this front-page story:

Florence Kerr Takes NWA Post
Mrs. Florence Kerr, director of war public services of the Federal Works Agency in Washington, has resigned that position and will join Northwest Airlines on January 1 as director, women's division, traffic, promotion and public relations.
Announcement of the appointment was made today by President Croil Hunter.
Her activities with NWA, Mr. Hunter said, will be devoted principally to stimulating interest among women in air travel and educating women's groups in the convenience and comfort offered by commercial aviation.
"This is an important work," Mr. Hunter asserted. "Promotional work among women's groups is a field which has been largely overlooked by the airlines.
"Surveys have indicated that women exert a significant influence on methods of transportation to be used by all types of travelers. By bringing to the attention of women the advantages of air travel, the commercial airlines industry can gain the support of an extremely important public element.
"With so many sons now in war flying, women are certain to have a new aviation-consciousness when these boys return. The job of helping to develop that interest among women everywhere holds a unique importance for the entire airline industry."
Can't help but wonder what Florence Kerr, if she is still with us, thinks about women in aviation today. I guess one could say she did her job well in 1945, since if she got on a commercial airliner today, chances are her Captain is a woman, the air traffic controller guiding her through the skies is a woman and women have already lived in the space station. Way to go, Florence!


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