ICAO, in cooperation with Airports Council International (ACI), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and other international organizations based near its Headquarters, hosted a special joint event in celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD).

ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu (center) poses with VIP speakers and ICAO Council Representatives who contributed to or attended this year’s special panel discussion on Aviation Gender Equality as part of ICAO’s celebration for International Women’s Day 2020. Image credit: ICAO

ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu welcomed the many guests who attended the Montreal celebration, which were focused around the International Women’s Day 2020 theme of: “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.”

“Throughout my professional career, and especially in my current role as ICAO Secretary General, I have strongly advocated for the equal participation of both women and men in international aviation operations and decision-making,” Dr. Liu highlighted.

“But it is now more important than ever to advocate for gender equality, given the opportunities which are presenting themselves due to growth, attrition, and other factors. This is particularly the case in highly-specialized industries like aviation, where women continue to be under-represented.”

In his opening remarks to the Council in celebration of IWD, the President of the Council, Salvatore Sciacchitano emphasized that “gender equality in our sector is crucial to filling the gap of aviation professionals in the near future.”

In 2016, national governments at ICAO’s 39th Assembly adopted a Resolution supporting the establishment of ICAO’s Gender Equality Programme. This was realized the following year, and in 2018 the agency convened the first ever Global Aviation Gender Summit. Dr. Liu noted that a second such summit is currently being organized by ICAO for this November, in collaboration with Spain.

At ICAO’s 40th Assembly last year, its member States were urged to increase the current momentum toward sectoral gender equality in aviation. Dr. Liu stressed that in order for ICAO to continue playing a key coordination and leadership role in these global efforts, she had just established a new Joint Advisory Group on Gender Equality and Gender Equity.

“It’s my expectation that this new Joint Advisory Group will help both ICAO and its States drive more rapid and aligned progress on the key gender equality targets we’re pursuing, ultimately enhancing it across both ICAO and global aviation,” she said.

Additional insights on the need for continued and determined action on gender equality in aviation were provided by prominent women in aviation including Angela Gittens, ACI Director General; Angie Ahmed Abdallah Mostafa Elyazzy, Egypt’s Representative on the ICAO Council; Maria Saranti, Greece’s Representative on the ICAO Council; Shefali Juneja, India’s Representative on the ICAO Council; Thilly De Bodt, Chief of Partnerships & Resource Mobilization for ICAO; and Niloofar Moradi, Project Engineer at Pratt & Whitney Canada.