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Airports around the world are today celebrating International Women’s Day while Quebec’s aerospace industry is holding a conference to promote diversity and inclusion.

Birmingham Airport in the UK is celebrating International Women’s Day with a series of activities running across the airport based on the official theme #BalancedforBetter.

This year’s #IWD2019 is about raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality, with emphasis being placed on how a gender-balanced world is better for all.

Brum girls

To celebrate women’s achievements, Birmingham Airport (BHX) reached out to some of its most inspiring female employees to share the reasons why International Women’s Day is important to them.

A series of videos have been captured and shared across the Airport’s social media channels, showcasing achievements made by women across the business.

Kirstin Kane, the airpot’s head of sustainability at BHX who joined the gateway in October 2000, said: “At times I have sat in boardrooms where I have been the only female and often, significantly younger than others around me. This has really shaped who I am today, and my input is as valid and as respected as anyone else’s.

“My advice is to be open and honest, know your subject and have patience and the perseverance to see your projects through to completion. Working on your personal brand and putting time into developing your confidence and network is also very important.”

In Canada, Aéro Montréal, Québec’s aerospace cluster, today held the Inclusive Organization of Tomorrow Forum in the presence of Jean Boulet, Québec’s Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister Responsible for the Mauricie region.

More than 300 participants from various sectors of Québec’s economy gathered at the Société des arts technologiques de Montréal to take part in this event, which offered a unique opportunity to celebrate diversity and inclusion within organisations.


“The strength of a skilled and diversified workforce is a powerful driver of performance and innovation which are essential for companies to continue to grow and excel on the international stage,” noted Suzanne Benoît, president of Aéro Montréal.

“Today’s Forum was a unique opportunity for us to discuss together the best practices for promoting diversity and inclusion in tomorrow’s organisations.”

Boulet said: “I am delighted to see the dynamism and the actions being taken by Aéro Montréal to meet challenges related to workforce scarcity and skills development.

“To face the new realities of the labour market, we need to rethink our ways of doing things to help increase company productivity while promoting workforce retention.”

Organised as part of International Women’s Day, the Forum provided a platform for discussing the drivers, challenges and solutions for promoting the inclusion of all under-represented groups in companies and society.

While Netflights chose to mark the occasion by highlighting five big moments for women in aviation in 2018.

1. Air France hired their first ever female CEO
In December, Air France appointed Anne Rigail as its new CEO, making her the first woman to ever take up the prestigious role in the airline’s 85-year history. Prior to her appointment, Rigail had been Air France’s executive vice president.

Female pilots

2. India had the more female pilots than any other country
In the UK around 4.77% of airline pilots are women – however in India it is more than double this at 12.4% – that’s according to the ISWAP.

3. Zoom Air had the highest number of female pilots

Data from (ISWAP) highlighted that regional Indian airline Zoom Air has the most female pilots of all airlines worldwide. They employ nine female pilots out of a total of 30. IndiGo has the second highest percentage of women pilots at 13.9%.

4. The Nancy Bird Walton initiative launched
In late 2017, Qantas announced the launch of a new initiative named after pioneering Australian aviator and the founder and patron of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association, Nancy Bird Walton. The aim of this was to commit to a 20% intake of qualified women during its 2018 Future Pilot’s Program.

5. Chix were Fix-ing airplanes
The ‘Chix Fix’ are a group of female technicians from all over the USA. They formed together in 2018 to compete as the first all-female commercial airline team in the Aerospace Maintenance Competition. They did so with the hope to raise awareness all over the world that aircraft maintenance is a career path for people of all genders.

Paul Hopkinson, marketing director from Netflights said: “It’s ridiculous to think that women can’t or shouldn’t be able to contribute to any aspect of aviation on equal terms as men.

“We’re very pleased, this International Women’s Day, to celebrate just a few examples of how outdated practises were challenged last year. But the industry still has a long way to travel and needs to use those examples to show other women that this is a place where they can achieve anything.”


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