The Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter celebrates its first year

By: Virgin Atlantic

October 4, 2019

Dame Deirdre Hutton, Kate Forbes, Paul Sheerin, Sumati Sharma

As part of the Women in Aerospace & Aviation Charter, we're helping to secure gender balance across the aviation industry

As part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring women in aviation can reach their full potential, we recently celebrated the first anniversary of the Women in Aerospace & Aviation Charter with a host of inspiring women. The event, at Spirit Aerosystems near Glasgow, brought together key industry figures from across the UK to share experiences and reflect on developments since the launch of the charter in 2018. (Liam X, strategy analyst and facilitation team member for the charter shares more)

A quick recap

The Women in Aerospace & Aviation Charter launched at the Farnborough Air Show in 2018. It represents a network of more than 165 organisations from across the UK and overseas, and collaborates on ways to build a fairer industry for women. Women are under-represented in the industry, making up only 4 per cent of the commercial pilot population, and with a shortage of women studying STEM subjects and pursuing careers in engineering, the challenges are only too clear.

Although progress is being made aross the board to enable women to access all opportunities possible, there’s much more the industry can do. Here at Virgin Atlantic we’re fully committed to diversity and inclusion and happy to support the charter as a driving force for change.

An initiative we launched in September, in true Virgin style, is a partnership with Barbie to develop three new Barbie dolls in support of Barbie’s Dream Gap Project, which encourages young girls globally to be anything they want to be and not limit their goals. The partnership is just one among many we’re engaged in, as we aim to show girls of all ages just how fulfilling a career in aviation can be.

The event

As a founding member of the charter, we’ve been an integral part of its development since launch, so it was fantastic to see such a diverse group of attendees from all walks of life sharing their experiences. New entrants who’ve recently joined the workforce as apprentices and trainees had the opportunity to soak up a wealth of advice from experienced figures who’ve been a key part of the industry for many years, including WIAA co-chair and our own vice president of product and commercial, Sumati Sharma, and the chair of the Civil Aviation Authority, Dame Deirdre Hutton. Alongside representatives from Equate Scotland, Spirit Aerosystems and General Electric, they shared their own experiences and discussed how we can take the charter to new heights in the future.

We’re fully committed to supporting women at all levels of the business achieve their goals. Alongside our ambition to become the most loved travel company, we recognise the need to build a culture where diversity is not just accepted, but embraced, championed and celebrated. To find out more, you can follow the charter on Twitter or visit the WIAA website to keep informed about the latest developments.

Many thanks for to Liam Smith for this guest post. Liam is a Supply Chain & Quality Management Graduate at Airbus who is working on a secondment as a Strategy Analyst at Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays



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