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Social Innovation x Gender

Jessica Ruttenber

Lt Col (ret), USAF, Women’s Initiatives Team & Founder of Level Up Aviation

Jessica overcame the odds to become a USAF pilot and spent her career as an advocate to remove unnecessary barriers which keep women and minorities out of aviation and military. Her writing and work on the Women’s Initiative Team prompted the DoD to design its first-ever maternity flight suit, changed the way the Air Force designs aircraft for Human Systems Integration, and helped pass the Equality for Military Mothers Amendment in the FY21 NDAA that ensures over 200,000 Armed Forces members are not unduly affected due to pregnancy discrimination.

The US military needs to modernize its capabilities to attract and retain talent to hold a competitive advantage. Jessica will discuss legacy policies and systematic engineering that has previously disqualified 74% of black females and 72% of Hispanic females from becoming pilots and why that is a problem for national security.