Global Aviation Gender Summit Calls for Action on Gender Equality in the Skies
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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The first Global Aviation Gender Summit aimed to increase leadership and commitment to gender equality in aviation, mobilize the global aviation community to address barriers, and identify concrete actions to accelerate gender equality.

Participants adopted a communique emphasizing, among other issues: the importance gender-disagggregated data; the need to overcome stereotypes and biases; and the need to better support women's training and career development.

Participants also suggested exploring whether the the UN System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP) could include national targets on gender equality in aviation in selected states as a pilot project.

14 August 2018: Almost 80% of flight attendants are female, but barely five percent of pilots are women and the proportion of women in technical or leadership positions in aviation is even lower. Recognizing that gender equality in air transport requires action, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and South Africa’s Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) convened the first Global Aviation Gender Summit to advance gender equality and women empowerment in the global aviation sector. Summit participants adopted a communique outlining key measures to support gender equality in aviation.

Building on ICAO’s Gender Equality Programme, established in 2017, the Summit aimed to motivate states and the global aviation industry to demonstrate leadership and commitment to gender equality in aviation, mobilize the global aviation community to address barriers, and identify concrete actions to accelerate gender equality. Participants discussed among other issues: the need for better data for gender equality; linkages between the 2030 Agenda and gender equality and aviation; barriers and opportunities for gender equality; gender equality in leadership positions; gender equality and innovation; and partnerships for gender equality.

“Air transport must address head-on why women are still underrepresented in the majority of the technical and executive positions in aviation.” – ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu

In her keynote address, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu underscored the role of highly skilled professionals for the sector’s performance. She underlined that air transport “must first become a better example of gender equality in action, and address head-on why women are still underrepresented in the majority of the technical and executive positions in aviation.”

Participants adopted a communique that, among other issues: highlights the need for gender disaggregated data to drive gender-related polices and programmes in aviation; underscores the need to eliminate or mitigate the impacts of culture, stereotypes and biases on decisions related to gender; identifies the need to better use measures such as internships, fellowships and bursaries to develop women’s skills in aviation; recognizes the need for gender-responsive legislation; and advocates for leadership and mentoring programmes to support women’s career development and improve their access to leadership positions.

Participants also welcomed collaboration between ICAO and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Women, including to explore the feasibility of introducing the UN System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP) to include national targets in selected states as a pilot project.

The Global Aviation Gender Summit was held from 8-10 August in Cape Town, South Africa. [ICAO Press Release] [Global Aviation Gender Summit Website] [Summit Communique] [Concept Note] [ICAO Women in Aviation]

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