Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter
In May 2018, it was suggested at an International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA) event that the Aviation and Aerospace sectors create a Charter to help improve gender diversity in the industry, similar to a Women in Finance Charter which was launched in 2016. As the Women in Finance Charter now has over 270 signatories and the first Annual Review for the charter showed an encouraging start, with 85% companies and organisations either meeting their targets or being on track to meet them, there was a desire to do build on this to drive change in these industries.
By July, the Charter was ready for launch with 50 companies and organisations as initial signatories, along with Government backing in the form of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT). At the Farnborough International Airshow the Prime Minister announced that, as part of a UK aerospace sector deal which was to be negotiated, the Government would “…seek to embed a UK Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, to build a more balanced and fair industry for women.”.
The Charter was officially launched at the ‘Ballot Box to Wing Box’ event later in the week of the Airshow by Baroness Sugg, Aviation Minister. There was a lot of excitement and eagerness for involvement, as well as a lot of questions about how this charter will work and the next steps.
The charter now has 75 Signatories and a Steering Committee has been established to drive the Charter forwards. This group held their first meeting on Tuesday 11th September with more than 20 attendees. They discussed some of the key questions, such as the production of a report to show the current state of gender diversity in the industry and the collation of companies’ and organisations’ annual reviews. There are no straight forward answers to these questions but good progress is being made and good discussions are being had about what can be done.
Support has also been provided to other industries as they start on their own diversity journeys. A Women in Maritime Charter has recently been launched, and there are also plans afoot for both a Women in Technology and a Women in Defence Charter. The steering group have volunteered their support to these industries, and are keen to collaborate in order to help further the diversity agenda across the industry spectrum.
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