From the revolutionary Wasp air-cooled radial engine in 1925 to the industry-changing technology of today's PurePower "Geared Turbofan," Powering the Eagle..,90 Years and Counting chronicles the contributions of Pratt & Whitney's women professionals and their inspirational workplace j... ourney as aviation pioneers, innovators, and role models, inviting the next generation of inspiring women contributors in aerospace. Pratt & Whitney Aircraft began operation in August 1925 in a spare machine tool factory. Among the earliest company employees were Helen Shockley, Mary Conner, Anna May Reardon, and Marie Wilkinson, the first of numerous inspirational women who have "powered the eagle" for 90 years and counting. In the 1920s and 1930s, pioneering women aviators flew with power from Pratt & Whitney's reliable Wasp engine. Amelia Earhardt, Mae Haizlip, Laura Ingalls, Louise Thaden, Blanche Noyes, and Jacqueline Cochran were among those who made their marks in the record books. Women also debuted as "flying hostesses" and traffic agents on Pratt & Whitney-powered airplanes operated by airlines such as Northwest. In 1939, the United Aircraft Girls' Club was organized with 195 charter members. The onset of World War II saw profound changes in traditional gender roles brought on by necessity. With large numbers of men overseas in military service, women took to the Pratt & Whitney office and factory floors, their labor necessary to create the airplane engines required to achieve wartime victory. Their tenacity and grit gave rise to the now famous image of "Rosie the Riveter" and her "we can do it" attitude. Whereas women's work roles in the 1940's were viewed as temporary, by the 1950's the jet age had dawned and professional women were in the vanguard as Pratt & Whitney identified the potential and dynamism in both the jet engine and a diverse workforce. By the twenty-first century, Pratt & Whitney's women continued to exemplify the gold standard for what it means to be an inspirational professional. They are technical innovators, thought leaders, committed career professionals, and enthusiastic advocates for the future of aerospace.
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