A pledge for gender balance across our industry

Nathan Stower, Director - External Affairs & Sustainability and Estelle Hollingsworth - Vice President, Talent Development sign the Charter at the Farnborough Airshow

Nathan Stower, Director – External Affairs & Sustainability and Estelle Hollingsworth – Vice President, Talent Development sign the Charter at the Farnborough Airshow

Last week at the Farnborough Airshow, Virgin Atlantic became one of the founding signatories of a new “Women in Aviation & Aerospace Charter”.

This is an industry-wide initiative where businesses across the UK’s aviation and aerospace sectors are committing to build a more balanced and fair industry. We were delighted to put our names to the charter, along with more than 50 other companies in the aviation space, including Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing, Bombardier and Heathrow Airport, and other aerospace manufacturers, airlines, airports and trade bodies.

As we explained when we published our gender pay results earlier this year, we’re committed to being a fair, diverse and inclusive employer and we’ve launched a series of our own measures to help address the demographic challenges that exist in our business. At the heart of this is our ‘Be Yourself’ diversity and inclusion strategy, which is focused on attracting and developing a more diverse workforce and ensuring we create a truly inclusive environment here at Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays.

“We’re delighted to be a founding member of the Women in Aviation & Aerospace Charter which will bring the industry together to tackle gender barriers,” said Nikki Humphrey, SVP People at Virgin Atlantic. “We’re committed to fostering a culture where all talent is nurtured, and earlier this year we announced a number of steps that we’re taking to close our gender gap and reflect the communities we work in. These include a 50/50 balance of men and women in leadership roles by 2022.”

Organisations that sign up to the charter are committing to be the very best at driving diversity and inclusion within the sector and providing fair opportunities for women to succeed at the highest levels. We know this will be most effectively delivered by a cross-industry effort so we’re delighted to see other big names across the industry signing up with us. You can see the charter in full by clicking here but there are four key principles we’re committing to by being signatories. The great news is that we’ve already started – or are looking to start – all of them, as part of our own commitment to a building a diverse and inclusive workforce.

The four principles of the “Women in Aviation & Aerospace Charter” are:

  • having one member of our senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion
  • setting internal targets, where appropriate, for gender diversity in our senior management
  • publishing progress annually against any targets in reports on our website
  • having an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery

We’ll continue to keep you updated on our diversity and inclusion plans and initiatives in the coming months.


Estelle has recently featured on the Workingmums.co.uk website with an article on Career Progression for women in the airline industry.

On International Women’s day, we met some of the inspirational women working at Virgin Atlantic. 

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