Women in Africa and in the world at large are still poorly represented in senior positions in business, government and even industry. A trend that the International Air Transport Association, IATA, wants to change by 2025.
That is the goal of the “25% by 2025” campaign that IATA launched last year. The campaign, which took off a few weeks ago, is aimed at achieving gender balance in international aviation, starting at Iata’s headquarters and then in the airlines.
This campaign is already being supported by 59 airlines including Air Botswana, TAAG-trans air Angola, Turkish airlines, Air France, British Airways, lufthansa… to name but a few; which are voluntarily committing to increase by 25% the number of women in senior positions, but also in jobs where they are under-represented, such as piloting and operations; which means increasing the number of hirings and appointments to reach at least 25% by 2025.
And to ensure the campaign’s success, Iata, the initiator of the project, is committed to increasing the number of women attending annual industry meetings. Annual reports on gender diversity data will also be produced to monitor the project’s progress. It is therefore a work that will span 5 years.
But why promote gender diversity in aviation?
Part of the answer can be found in this statement by Alexandre de Juniac the Director General and CEO of IATA who says, I’m going to read “Our passengers come from all walks of life, from all walks of life and they represent a diversity of cultures and genders”. Yet the industry itself does not represent the diversity of the world in which we live today”. We know that this must change…”.
And that’s not all, of course, the airlines have understood the value of women, and they want to promote women, but of course (VIDEO AGENCY=30SEC) those who initiate and bring balance and solutions. For the organizers, aviation is a sector of freedom. So they want to give 2.7 million men and women the opportunity, if not the freedom, to develop exciting careers in the industry, and the goal here is not just to stop at 25 per cent no, the ultimate goal of the 25by2025 campaign is a 50-50 split between women and men in all sectors of the industry, and that will be achieved gradually.
Why is change necessary?
Diversity and inclusion measures for the aviation industry come as no surprise. They clearly show that it is possible to turn the tables on this growing industry to meet the growing global demand for connectivity.
As you know, during the 2019 IATA World Air Transport Summit, former Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon challenged the industry to do more to advance gender diversity. He urged the airlines to do more to address the issues facing women.
Improving gender diversity throughout the industry is necessary, not only because it is “the right thing to do,” but also because it makes good business sense, he said.
According to a McKinsey “Women Matter” report, “companies where women are most strongly represented at the board or senior management level are also those that perform best”.
Worldwide, women currently represent barely 5% of the world’s pilot population and 3% of chief executive officers. And at Iata’s headquarters, women’s representation is 19%, while in all airlines they are represented at 17%, a total imbalance that Iata is determined to change.
And it’s not just the 25% by 2025 campaign. Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls is one of the UN’s sustainable development goals.
And while some indicators show that gender equality is on the rise, much remains to be done, including providing an enabling and nurturing environment. What this campaign actually wants is 25 per cent by 2025. It will be achieved slowly but surely.