The UAE Gender Balance Council (UAE GBC) actively took part in the Global Aviation Gender Summit 2023, organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Madrid. The summit focused on enabling factors for achieving gender equality and empowering women in the aviation industry.
The UAE GBC’s participation in the summit, coordinated with the UAE Delegation on the Council of ICAO, reflects the directives of H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, to strengthen global partnerships and promote gender balance in the UAE. It also showcases the UAE’s pioneering experience in gender balance, aligning with the country’s commitment to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
During the summit, led by Huda Al Hashimi, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and member of the UAE GBC, the delegation highlighted the UAE’s efforts to establish gender balance in all sectors and its regional and global achievements in this field. These achievements demonstrate the vision of the UAE’s leadership in supporting women’s roles as essential partners in comprehensive development.
On the sidelines of the summit, Al Hashimi met with Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to discuss areas of cooperation in promoting gender balance at regional and global levels. They emphasized the importance of the Global Accelerators Ambassadors Program, launched in Montreal, Canada, in May. This program aims to empower ICAO’s leaders with tools and methodologies to support gender balance goals and foster a transformational vision.
The Global Aviation Gender Summit 2023 provided a valuable platform for governments, international organizations, experts, academics, and private sector representatives to engage in dialogue on gender equality in the aviation industry. The discussions focused on expanding partnerships, strengthening measures by airlines and authorities, and addressing the gender gap. Despite the existing challenges, including the gender disparity in aviation-related jobs, there has been a positive increase in the percentage of women’s participation in pilot, air traffic controller, and maintenance technician positions.
The summit highlighted the significance of gender equality in creating a more inclusive industry that embraces diverse perspectives, innovative solutions, and opportunities for all. It stressed the importance of collaboration among stakeholders to overcome obstacles faced by women and girls in the aviation sector and reshape the workforce composition.
A particular session of the summit titled “Harnessing the power of gender-responsive policies and financing” featured Huda Al Hashimi as a keynote speaker. The session explored integrating a gender equality perspective into aviation policies, planning processes, strategies, and frameworks. It examined how workplace culture can be transformed through gender-responsive policies such as flexible working arrangements, work-life balance promotion, and inclusive human resources policies. Adequate resources were emphasized to successfully address the gender gap.
Al Hashimi highlighted the UAE’s dedication to enhancing its successes in the aviation industry through its collaboration with ICAO. She emphasized the UAE GBC’s role as a federal entity responsible for the country’s gender balance agenda. Al Hashimi mentioned notable projects and initiatives, including the “Gender Balance Guide” developed in cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). She also highlighted the UAE’s efforts in reviewing and developing legislation to promote gender balance and empower women in various sectors.
The Deputy Minister also underscored the UAE’s achievements in the aviation sector, with approximately 27,000 women employed, representing 42% of the workforce. She emphasized the efforts of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in increasing women’s representation in leadership positions. The overall work environment has become more gender-friendly, and the UAE private sector has joined the “SDG5 Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance in the UAE Private Sector,” committing to increase women’s representation in middle and senior management positions.
The Gender Balance Index for the UAE and its evaluation criteria were highlighted, reflecting the country’s strategic plans to inspire institutions and individuals to take concrete steps toward achieving gender balance in all sectors.
The UAE GBC’s active involvement in the Global Aviation Gender Summit demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to advancing gender equality in the aviation industry and its determination to be a global leader in promoting gender balance.