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Why Women Representation Is Important In Aviation Businesses Earlier, International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) estimated that if women's participation in aviation continued at its current pace of increase, it would take 450 years to achieve gender parity; Recently, with an aim to increase the number of women in various positions, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has issued an advisory to airports and airlines to increase the number of women employees in their organizations

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Diversity and inclusion play a key role in driving innovation, from pilots, ground handlers to senior managers or any position in the aviation industry, an inclusive workforce is a competitive edge.

What numbers say: According to McKinsey Diversity Matters report, companies committed to inclusion significantly outperform those that aren't. Conglomerates with representation of women exceeding 30 per cent are significantly more likely to financially outperform those with 30 percent or fewer. Meanwhile, those in the bottom quartile for both (ethnic and gender diversity) are 66 percent less likely to outperform financially on average.

During the 2023 Global Aviation Gender Summit, International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) estimated that if women's participation in aviation continued at its current pace of increase, it would take 450 years to achieve gender parity.

Taking cognizance of the scenario, India too is playing its role in workforce inclusion in the aviation industry. Recently, with an aim to increase the number of women in various positions, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has issued an advisory to airports and airlines to increase the number of women employees in their organizations. The circular by DGCA stated that a desirable representation of 25 per cent by 2025 within the aviation industry should be sought. The regulator suggested that the airports and airlines should publish the vacant positions on various forums, explicitly encouraging applications from female candidates and drafting positions with precise information on flexible working conditions in their organizations.

"The stakeholders are advised to promote enhanced representation of women in the aviation workforce, introduce leadership and mentorship programs for women in the organization, address the issue of stereotypes and gender bias and promote a better work-life balance for women employees," the circular states.

India's largest airline IndiGo, has over 44 per cent of women in its workforce. "A growing number of female representation in our engineering teams. The company's back-to-work model for women, Take off 2.0, which was launched in March 2023, is yet another step in the direction of championing empowerment and ensuring that the women at work are at par with men in every field," the airline had earlier quoted.

Similarly, achieving gender parity has been a cornerstone of the growth strategy of Akasa Air. A third of the executive committee members and more than 35 per cent of the company's workforce are women.

Air India boasts over 15 per cent of its cockpit crew as women, according to the carrier, women constitute over 40 per cent of Air India's workforce, with 275 of its 1,825 pilots being women, the company had said in a statement in March this year. Vistara symbolizes a commitment to gender diversity with women constituting almost 44 per cent of its workforce and 10 per cent of its leadership positions. Furthermore, the airline boasts a pilot workforce where nearly 14 per cent are women.

Having recognized diversity and inclusion policies does accelerate the process – employing a female or minority in a key position creates a role model – which encourages a more diverse applicant base for similar future jobs and creates an environment where innovation thrives.

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