IATA’s voluntary 25by2025 initiative aims to improve female representation in the aviation industry.

It now has some 188 signatories, representing over 50% of IATA member airlines or some 55% of global traffic.

Jane Hoskisson, IATA’s Director Talent, Learning, Engagement & Diversity, says a critical mass has been achieved. “Through these airlines, the industry is committed to increasing diversity in its workforce,” she says. “The focus is now on delivery.”

Diversity efforts are certainly evident throughout air transport. From a handful of female airline CEOs just a few years ago, there are now 25 among IATA member airlines, including such major carriers as Air France, El Al, and KLM. There is excellent regional coverage too, with women in charge of aviation companies in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America. Female pilots, engineers, and senior management are also on the rise.

IATA is providing a variety of resources to assist all airlines in reaching the 25by2025 target. Most importantly, it is acting as a forum for sharing experience and best practice. The signatories are at different levels of maturity and, as Hoskisson points out, “there is no need for carriers starting on their journey to go through the same challenges as those ahead of them. They can learn from those airlines and make quick and meaningful progress in their diversity programs.”


Diversity datathon

A new area of support is a diversity datathon, which will open to all interested parties on 22 March 2023 and run for a month. The challenge for participants is to take diversity data and analyze it to suggest new ideas, perspectives, processes or technologies that would help drive diversity forward.

Applicants will get access to Amazon Web Services’ technology platforms and there will be workshops and guidance available.

“Every study has shown that there is a business benefit to diversity,” says Hoskisson. “The more diversity you have the better the business outcome. But what can we say specifically about aviation? What innovation within the industry could help our airlines go even further in their diversity commitment and so secure better business results?”

According to Hoskisson, the main point is that diversity thinking is as open to innovation as any other product or service. New thinking and new ideas will help to build the business case and show how diversity can work in practice. This information can then be used to prove the viability of diversity projects and secure the necessary resources and investment from airlines senior management across the board.


Diversity and Inclusion awards

IATA is also launching its annual Diversity and Inclusion Awards. As ever, winners will be announced at the IATA AGM, this year being held on 4–6 June in Istanbul.

The awards are yet another platform providing inspiration for diversity and inclusion efforts, most especially in supplying the role models that are helping to drive this critical area forward. Last year’s winner of the High Flyer Award, Kanchana Gamage, Founder and Director, The Aviatrix Project, is now an aviation ambassador for the UK’s Department for Transportation, for example.

“Standards are always rising,” says Hoskisson. “We are giving visibility to outstanding role models and that will motivate the next generation. The fact that there are more female airline CEOs than ever shows that our diversity efforts are a springboard for opportunity. And that opportunity is the basis for better business outcomes.”


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