Drones are the future but so are women. When I first saw a drone, it was because a boyfriend of mine purchased one. I wanted nothing to do with it, at first. To me, it felt like a ‘boy’s toy’ and quite uninviting, so I stayed away. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I realized a drone was not merely a boy’s toy but rather a new tool for creating and capturing the world in a new way. I gave drone technology another chance. With my dream of always wanting to hike the Great Wall of China and capturing my experience, I knew I needed to have a drone of my own. When I purchased my first DJI Mavic Pro, it was daunting. The learning curve was steep at the time, forcing me to teach myself everything by just going out and flying my drone.
After a few flights, I was on my way to the Great Wall of China. The experience I gained and the content I shot not only changed how I viewed the world, but little did I know, it would soon change my entire career path and life. After my trip, I was hooked on flying my drone to everywhere I traveled. It wasn’t long before I became a Part 107 Certified Drone pilot and began my drone journey to what I thought would be mostly photography and videography.
However, that changed when I became struck by the major gender gap in the drone industry.
Many women were reaching out to me on social media asking me how I got started, what I was flying, and if I had any recommendations for them. After receiving several DM’s on Instagram, it was evident that there needed to be a space for women to not only connect with each other but inspire and educate one another as well. I knew this would be a challenging feat, but I also knew how important it was for this growing industry to include women, especially during its infancy. That’s when I decided to create Women Who Drone, an online platform and community that inspires, educates, and empowers women and girls with drone technology.
The importance of gender diversity in industries is becoming increasingly necessary for several reasons.
First of all, there have been several cases where industries have failed to consider the perspectives of women simply because there were no women in the room. For example, when seatbelts were being tested back in the 1960s, the tests were only conducted on male bodies, leaving women more susceptible to being injured or even killed in a car crash (Source: Ely). In addition, the same situations arose during tests on medicine, tools and even temperature regulation. No wonder our offices are so cold! They were not designed with women in mind. With just these few examples, it is clear that diversity in every industry ensures everyone is being considered.
Nearing our two-year anniversary, we have realized that stories truly inspire people especially when they feel connected to those people. That is what Women Who Drone does for our community and girls around the globe. Our mission is simple: inspire others with real and meaningful stories, educate them with how drone technology works and then offer them opportunities in the drone field. This is how we are creating the next generation of female drone pilots globally. And we truly believe if we can introduce drone technology to girls at a young age, then we can slowly move the needle on the gender gap in this growing industry.
Elena is a Video Producer, Photographer, Part 107 Certified Drone Pilot and Instructor. As featured in The Washington Post, Fast Company and on DJI for her aerial photography and cinematography, Elena's passion for flying drones stemmed from her trip to the Great Wall of China. From there, her curiosity turned into a hobby and now a passion and career. Currently, Elena offers drone lessons via Airbnb Experiences in San Francisco, CA and Brooklyn, NY.