The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) in partnership with Collins Aerospace staged a 2-day conference on 19-20 October to facilitate dialogue, share information, experiences and best practices to attain gender diversity and youth development in aviation.
The conference was held in virtual format under the theme: “Women and Youth Development in Aviation for a Sustainable Future”. The conference provided an ideal forum for air transport industry stakeholders to take stock of the trends, deliberate on feasible solutions to bridge the gender gap and develop young aviation professionals for the sustainability of the air transport sector.
Gender diversity remains a work in progress; a lot needs to be done
The conference presentations revealed that women numbers are still low in STEM-related careers and women are underrepresented in leadership positions in aviation. In the world’s top 100 airlines, just 3% of airline CEOs and COOs and 8% of CFOs are women according to a study done by IATA. The gender diversity in aviation is a work in progress, with slow improvements witnessed in the last decade, a lot more needs to be done.
Mr Abdérahmane Berthé – AFRAA Secretary General, in his remarks stated: “The ICAO and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) underscore the importance of gender equity to spur economic growth and promote social development. There is need to make the aviation industry more gender balanced at the national, international and global levels. Investing in women and youth has a multiplier effect on productivity as well as sustainable growth. For this to happen, governments, companies, organizations and all development actors need to enter a meaningful process of concrete actions.”
“Regarding the subject of youth, the development of skilled professionals in the aviation and aerospace industry in Africa is critical as a large contingent of the current aviation professionals will retire and the aviation growth will require more qualified and competent professionals. The Continent needs to train, develop and groom youth to meet the African global needs of the aviation industry of tomorrow,” Mr Berthé added.