Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a drone, and it’s being flown by a Girl Guide!
A drone is a remotely piloted, aerial vehicle that can be programmed to move in different ways.
They’re extremely useful for search and rescue missions, surveying, photography, and other challenges where it’s useful to have a bird’s eye view while you’re still on the ground.
The Australian drone industry is growing fast, but there’s a big problem with it.
Only one per cent of professional Australian drone pilots are female.
It’s a colossal gender imbalance and it should not exist.
Who better to tackle this issue than some Girl Guides?
The Dragonfly Drone Guides is a new Unit of women with interests and experience in science and technology. They will visit Guiding events and Unit meetings around Victoria to teach girls how to program and fly drones.
The Dragonfly Drone Guides is being spearheaded by Dr Gresley Wakelin-King – a Unit Leader and consulting geologist. In her profession, drones are becoming an invaluable tool for fieldwork.
‘I’m really dismayed to see this scale of gender imbalance in such a new industry,’ says Dr Wakelin-King. ‘I’ve been working in a male-dominated field for 35 years and I know that change needs help to happen.’
Helping Guides take flight
The Dragonfly Drone Guides aim to better the balance by sharing the exciting world of drones with the next generation of girls and women.
‘What we really want to do is give girls the space to have a go at drone flying and explore all the possibilities that drone technology has to offer,’ says Dr. Wakelin-King.
The Dragonfly Drone Guides will give girls the skills to use drones in areas as diverse as STEM, emergency management and the performing arts.
‘We’ll be excited to develop further things. First we want to help the girls to develop the skills, and then it’s up to the girls to tell us where they want to take it.’
The Dragonfly Drone Guides are being officially launched this weekend, with a local one-day event called Guides in the Sky, where girls can learn the basics of programming drones. Future events and Unit activities are in development – Guide Leaders can email the Dragonflies for more information.
The Dragonfly Drone Guides was inspired by the ground-breaking STEM education work of Dr. Karen Joyce (She Maps) and Dr. Catherine Ball (World of Drones Education), and has been supported by the Bendigo Bank and the City of Yarra.