My colleague Jens Flottau wrote this thoughtful, informative Aviation Week & Space Technology column on gender equality, stemming from the recent controversy at the IATA annual general meeting set off by Akbar Al Baker. The aviation industry needs to attract people to the industry--especially mechanics/engineers and pilots--as well as make sure it is harnessing the power of diversity and inclusion throughout all levels--including the top.
As Alina Nassar, president of the International Aviation Womens Association, said a statement after the IATA meeting, "In spite of aviation’s intrinsic dynamism and the speed at which it evolves technologically, the industry remains behind others in promoting female participation, and in encouraging and inspiring women to pursue executive roles."
How do you encourage all levels of staff to look for different viewpoints and get into the habit of inclusion—across departments, offices and borders?
For diversity and inclusion to take hold, people need to be authentic, but open and diplomatic, in my view. Will that make incorporating diversity in today’s polarized society more difficult? It probably will, but given that diverse workforces are also good for business—from performance to productivity, it needs to happen.
Days before he died, the late, great Gene House said, “There remains far more to be done in balancing MRO leadership diversity more equitably to the great benefit of the industry--worldwide.” House was an outspoken critic of the MRO industry’s failure to more fully embrace the importance of vastly increasing the role of women through all aspects of MRO for decades, so this is not a new issue and doesn't simply stem from #MeToo. He was a strong advocate for women and the fact he thought it was important to remind me of the issue right before he died has made a lasting impression on me.
Don’t let this polarizing time stop you from seeking new viewpoints, encouraging diversity and inclusion, and making the aviation industry an even better place to work.