Today marks one year since the launch of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter. Over 120 organisations have now signed up to it and the team says progress is being made but there’s more work to do.
Members of the Charter include aerospace manufacturers, airlines, airports, trade bodies and others. The Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter reflects the aspiration of the industry to see gender balance across all levels.
Katherine Bennett, Senior Vice President, Airbus, said of the number of signatories: “I am very proud, considering we started with nothing.”
She added: “I'm very proud of my colleagues in aerospace but there's still more work to be done.”
The team has recently launched a Twitter feed [@TheWiAACharter] and website to help spread the word.
Women are under-represented in aviation and aerospace, with only 4% of commercial pilots being female. There is also a well-recognised shortage of women studying STEM subjects and taking up roles in engineering.
“We're working on lots of programmes in terms of measuring performance because there are still some big gaps,” Bennett said. This includes working with engineering institutions and organisations such as the Royal Aeronautical Society "to ensure the industry has a pipeline and that there is encouragement for girls to go into STEM subjects and think about a career in aerospace".
Bennett commented: “A lot of us who are currently in leadership roles in our sector are doing our best to inspire and encourage those lower down. And for me, I take responsibility [seriously]. I do a lot of mentoring and I encourage other people to do that [too].”
Airbus, for example, has a programme called ‘Little Engineers’ where engineers go into schools and encourage children to think about aerospace as a career.
Bennett said: “So bite-sized chunks, a lot of work to do, but hey, we can really have a good crack at it.”
To mark the anniversary of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, the team is encouraging signatories to share pictures and details of what they’ve been doing as part of their commitment to the Charter, using @TheWiAACharter #1YearOfWiAA.