#SheWhoShines 3. Amelia Earhart - The First Woman To Fly Across The Atlantic

Welcome to Day2 of our #SheWhoShines campaign. At Arya Candles, we're writing about 10 inspiring women from around the world, some well-known and some not so well-known. We're writing about two women every day for the course of the week, ending on Feb 12th '16. At the end of the week, we will hold a vote to see who you find the most inspiring or interesting. The three women with the highest number of votes will get their names etched on a Limited Edition white candle, in time for International Women's Day on March 8th. All those who take part in the vote will have a chance of winning one of these white candles.

Born on July 24 1897, in Kansas, Amelia Earhart has left a lasting mark in the history of aviation and particularly the advancement of female pilots. 

Growing up as a ‘tomboy’, defying conventional feminine behaviour, Amelia was often disapproved of, but that didn’t seem to bother her.  

Her life changed when she attended a stunt-flying exhibition at the age of 23. A stunt pilot, thinking he would scare Amelia and her friend, dove straight towards them. Amelia stood her ground. At that moment, she had the realisation that she wanted to fly. This was further reinforced when she had her first airplane ride in 1920 and only a month later she was taking flying lessons. Six months later, with financial help from her sister and her mother, Amelia was to buy her first airplane, a bright yellow, second-hand, two seater. She named it ‘The Canary’. It was in this airplane that Amelia broke her first record: She was the first woman to fly to 14,000 feet.

In her 10 year public career Amelia became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and set many other records throughout her career as an aviator. Amelia publically identified herself as a feminist. Apart from flying, she used her fame to champion the advancement of commercial aviation and advancement of women.  Whenever the opportunity arose she preached that flying would soon become part of everyday life. She certainly got that right and it was a result of her endeavours; the 1932 transatlantic crossing, 1935 solo from Hawaii to California , the 1937 round-the-world attempt accelerated the introduction of commercial air routes.

“My ambition is to have this wonderful gift produce practical results for the future of commercial flying and for the women who may want to fly tomorrow's planes.”

Apart from Amelia’s love of flying, she also held jobs as nursing aide in a military hospital in Canada during WWI, and later as a social worker. Amelia was one of the founders of The Ninety-Nines an international organisation for female pilots, and was later elected as the first President of the organisation. The primary aim of The Ninety-Nines was the advancement of aviation through education, scholarships and philanthropy.

In February 1932 Amelia married her business manager, George Putnam. She maintained her sense of independence by keeping her surname and calling it a ‘partnership’, which was unusual at that time.

In June 1937, when she was nearing her 40th birthday, and by which time she was well known worldwide, Amelia made her fated flight; she wanted to be the first woman to fly around the globe. On July 2, after completing nearly two-thirds of her historic flight -- over 22,000 miles -- Amelia vanished along with her navigator, Frederick Noonan, over the Pacific Ocean. After a 4 million dollar search & rescue operation, it was finally called off. To this day, it is unknown what happened in her final flight, but we do know that Amelia left this world doing what she loved, and following her passion.

Amelia Earhart will always be remembered for her courage, vision, perseverance and ground-breaking achievements, both in aviation and for propelling women in aviation.