CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are 593,499 active pilots in the United States.
Of those, only seven percent are women.
That statistic is a reason Joint Base Charleston invited middle and high school girls to their Women in Aviation Career Day.
140 middle and high school girls from 19 Charleston-area schools visited the base on Tuesday to learn about jobs in aviation. The students toured a C-17 aircraft and learned about aviation-related career fields not typically occupied by women.
"It's definitely very surreal," said Destiny Graham, a senior at Fort Dorchester High School who attended the career day. "The empowerment of all the women who are here is just incredible."
According to statistics from the FAA, of the nearly 600,000 active pilots in the U.S., less than seven percent are women. And women account for only 25 percent of the more than 678,444 nonpilot aviation jobs in the nation.
"It makes my heart happy that they're able to come out and just be involved and learn about what it is that we do," Keshia Promanee, an Executive Officer with the 315th Airlift Wing, said. "Dream big. There's nothing that can stop you."
This year's guest speaker was Air Force Reserve Command's Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly – the Air Force Reserve's highest ranking enlisted Airman. This is the tenth year the base has put on a career day and it's sponsored by the 315th Airlift Wing and Women in Aviation.