By Myriam Gómez and Jeff Peet (Managing Editor of ALA News).

 

2021 can undoubtedly be, thanks to the hope that mass vaccination provides to prevent further infections by Covid-19 and the management of this devastating pandemic, a year in which the industry really takes on pending issues and, among them, Gender Equality should be a priority. Aviation must seize the opportunity provided by this reset, to take on this important challenge and work with the urgency that, according to IATA figures, women only occupy less than 5% of airline CEO positions in the world.

But why do it? Because as the world is, it is essential. To ignore this matter is not to ensure the social sustainability of humanity. In times when women represent more than half of the planet’s population, they simply cannot be marginalized from the challenges that lie ahead. Nor is it sustainable that a small part of the workforce of many companies is made up of women and although neither with the speed nor with the visibility that we would like, the above is already an irreversible trend.

How to do it? With ambitious and achievable goals. Something like what is happening with global warming, in the sense of establishing “calendar-objectives” that are reviewed along the way in order to meet them, without deviations. I mention climate change because the airlines have risen to that challenge, reaching a broad consensus and establishing a work plan that has been implemented and the pandemic has not been an excuse for this activity to stop being a fully committed to care about the environmental. Quite the contrary.

It is true that there is already a road traveled. There is a presence of distinguished women in high positions, even in the Americas. Monika Infante, CEO of Aerodom and Bobbi Wells, Vice President of Air Safety and Airworthiness at FedEx’s Air Operations, as well as Bárbara Dalibard, CEO and Diana Einterz, President of SITA, are great examples. But that is not enough and it is only because of their outstanding performances that we must and can advance much more.

The pandemic has hit women much more than men, due to the precarious employment in which they already were at the beginning of the health emergency. What is worse is that predictions as a result of it show that there will be a decline in gender equality because, in periods of crisis, the gender gaps tend to increase. That is why when the urgency is over, it is necessary that the “new normal” really puts us in a better place for when a new crisis arises. That can only happen by making use of all our resources and not just those that we have had so far. The broadly admired and late Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it quite rightly: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It should not be that women are the exception.”

Myriam Gómez is a Civil Industrial Engineer, member of the boards of several corporations and NGos, former Executive Director of Chile’s Country Image Foundation (2014-2018) and member of the Women Corporate Directors Foundation.