Amelia Earhart and Sally Ride each achieved major goals in fields that were traditionally reserved for men. Amelia Earhart became the first woman in history to make a solo transcontinental flight in 1928 and Sally Ride became the first woman in space in 1983. After achieving these goals, they each spoke to girls and women. They encouraged them not to feel restricted by what society expected of them as women.
Amelia Mary Earhart was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas. Her parents’ names were Edwin and Amy and she had a sister named Muriel. Amelia was a tomboy when she was young. She loved playing outdoors. She was also interested in stories of women who combined marriage and career, which was a rare occurrence at that time. During World War One, at the age of 20, Amelia served in a Voluntary Aid Detachment. She loved flying, but wartime restrictions prevented her from going up in the air.
Amelia knew that her goal in life was to become a pilot. She chose a woman, Neta Snook, to teach her to fly. Amelia felt that she would be less self-conscious learning from a woman. She bought her own plane. In 1928, Amelia rode on a transcontinental airplane flight. The flight made her the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air. In 1931, Amelia married George Palmer Putnam. He was a publisher who promoted Amelia’s flights. Amelia became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean on her own in 1932.
The transatlantic flight marked the high point in Amelia’s accomplishments because it was a great step forward for women. Margaret Dreier Robins of the Women’s Trade Union League said, “Is it not in us in America to think that if one of us does something we can do it also?”. From 1928 to 1937, Amelia promoted aviation to women. She believed that women could play an important role in the promotion of flying, and if they were uncooperative they could hold back its promising future.
Although she had already set records in aviation, Amelia was looking to set another. In 1937, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, a fellow pilot, took off from Miami in what was to be Amelia’s final and most famous flight. They were to fly around the world, and Amelia was to be the first woman to do so. Amelia and Fred stopped every night at designated stops for refueling and repairs. The last time they were seen was during their stop at New Guinea. Their next stop was to be Howard Island. When they didn’t arrive there, people concluded that they had disappeared. Searches were conducted in the Pacific Ocean but nothing was found. The news of Amelia’s disappearance shocked Americans, but, even though she was the best-known female aviator, public interest backed off after her presumed death and the attention of the nation returned to more ordinary things.
In a time where a women’s place was in the home, Amelia Earhart showed women that they were equal to men and could lead equally adventurous lives. Amelia had no children. She devoted her life to two things: promoting women’s rights and flying. She said that when it was time for her to die, she would like to die in her plane and quickly.
Unfortunately for America, Lady Lindy got her wish. Sally Kristen Ride was born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, California. Her parents’ names were Joyce and Dale, and she had a sister named Karen. “Sally was a tomboy when she was young. From the age of five, she loved to play sports with boys. Sally was an honor student in school. She excelled in science and English. She went to Stanford for graduate school and got a degree in astrophysics. During her last year there, she began to look for research jobs in her field. An advertisement in the Stanford paper caught her attention. It said that NASA was looking for a few good men or women for their new space shuttle program. Sally filled out the forms required and sent them to the Johnson Space Center.