We live in a world in which women have been by tradition second-class citizens. It is not so long ago that women could not legally own property in the United States. Though great progress has been made, the legacy of repression of women still permeates our society. Every day we encounter assumptions, expectations, traditions, taboos, subtle constraints, and outright discrimination which, if we let them, would limit our ability to participate in many activities, to achieve our dreams, to play as we like, to be all of who we are.
Society conditions us in a thousand subtle ways from the moment we are born. Why is it always the man who drives the jet ski on TV ads? Why is it "basketball" and "women's basketball"? Why do we never see a form that says:
Sex:  Female  Male
I'm sure you can think of a hundred examples of your own.
We can't change the world overnight, but each of us holds in
our hands great power.
I believe sometimes we unconciously take on the limitations of the patriarchy and make them our own. When we attempt to move beyond them and go "outside the box" of tradition, we are brought up short by our own fears.
Sometimes we bury our fears by convincing ourselves that we
really don't want that dream, anyhow.
My own experience showed me that it isn't always easy to move through and beyond our own fears. Twenty years elapsed between the birth of my dream of learning to fly and the realization of that dream. I've found that as I begin to allow myself to believe in a dream, the fears that kept me from it begin to rear their ugly heads.
But I have also found that as I confront my fears, and take
action despite them, my fears diminish and then disappear. Never
has the reality been nearly as bad as I imagined in my fears!
There is no greater inspiration than those women who have gone before us, and have broken down great barriers as they entered worlds previously open only to men. Many of these women have excelled, sometimes in the face of great odds. Those of us who follow can take heart from these heroic women as we smash our own barriers.
One of the most rewarding moments in my life occurred after I landed following an aerobatic practice session. As I climbed out of my plane, a woman came up to me, her face shining. "I watched you flying!" she said, "I loved it! I'm going to go sign up for flying lessons myself!"
I am very grateful to the many women who inspired me, and let
me know what was possible.