For all the talk about gender diversity in aviation, the numbers remain low.

Only 5% of pilots worldwide are female. Just 61 of 926 trainers are women and at our European Heads of Training (HoT) meeting ahead of EATS 2021, hosted with EASA and in collaboration with the ATPG, all the Heads of Training were men.

Image.jpegLisa Cusack, an A330 First Officer with Aer Lingus, together with Captain Marnie Munns (ATS Human Factors Limited/Co-head, Diversity and Inclusion, Flight Crew Training Group, Royal Aeronautical Society) facilitated this important discussion about diversity.

Lisa and Marnie threw out the question:

"What is your airline doing to encourage more women into aviation?"

Some of the discussion points that came back were the Heads of Training were unaware of the power they had to make the necessary changes, with the general consensus that women were investing as much as men but unable to reach the top. The key takeaway from the roundtable discussion was that the Heads of Training need to understand their position of power and act now.

"A highlight of the HoT for me was how engaging and honest the attendees were," Lisa said. 

"I left feeling that the vast majority really want to see and be part of big changes in the aviation industry, especially when it comes to diversity. However no airline had any specific plan or team/structure in place."

Lisa is passionate about encouraging young girls into STEM subjects and onwards to the flight deck. She has donated many flying lessons to help girls progress with the next step of their aviation journey, and her efforts to inspire the next generation have been recognised with numerous awards. 

"I hope 2022 will be the year that aviation rises to the challenge of actively recognising, encouraging and supporting  women in our industry," she added. "Our partners in other sectors, such as aviation leasing, have demonstrated how this can be achieved. With a global pilot shortage imminent, now is a fantastic opportunity for us to develop a more inclusive and diverse industry."

This important discussion about diversity was one of six critical industry topics that were discussed ahead of EATS 2021. The meetings also covered the path to EBT, competency fade, big data – turning data into action, diversity in aviation training, environmentally sustainable aviation, and the enrichment of training through technology. 

Stay tuned for more reports from these discussions in the near future.