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5 November 2019

‘25by2025’ - Multiplying chances to attain full gender parity

On September 12th, IATA’s Chair Committee and Board supported and endorsed the 25by2025 campaign aimed at improving the representation of women within key areas of the aviation industry. The campaign was officially launched September 26th by Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s DG & CEO.

The two charts below help us understand the raison d’être for action.

Source: IATA Economics


We spoke to Jane Hoskisson, IATA’s Director Learning & Development, who is coordinating this initiative.

Dear Jane, first of all, congratulations on the launch! This topic has been raised frequently at IATA, and it’s satisfying to see we are acknowledging the urgent need for better gender diversity, particularly in executive positions.  Can you tell us a bit more about this 25by2025 campaign?

 Thank you so much, it’s been really overwhelming to see how responsive the airlines have been to this campaign. At the Annual General Meeting/ World Air Transport Summit in Seoul this year, we launched the IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards, which are important as they provide visible industry role models, particularly for young women. Notwithstanding, it was clear that there was frustration about the lack of progress on gender diversity across the industry. It was our impetus to think a little creatively about how we could all work towards making a difference, and so ‘25by2025’ was born!    
At its heart, 25by2025 is a pledge between IATA and the airlines to ensure we are all prioritizing diversity. We are asking airlines to set a gender target for their senior leaders, and other underrepresented groups such as pilots, maintenance, ground operations. One of the challenges we faced was the disparity among airlines, as some are advanced whereas others are only just starting their journey. Hence, to ensure that everyone is involved, we aim for a minimum of 25%, or a 25% increase against their current numbers. This enables us to adapt to the environment of the airlines, and by measuring we can start to see progress.  Within our own structure in IATA, we are setting ourselves a minimum target of 25% among our senior leaders, our governance groups, and our conferences. 

Can you give us a better picture of what the current situation looks like in terms of gender balance among airlines and IATA? Do we have accurate data and numbers?
This is actually one of the reasons we launched the initiative! Currently, we struggle to know the exact number of women in the industry. Encouraging airlines to sign up will allows us to collate the data and provide an industry view based on these numbers. Some of our airline members have done a wonderful job of driving better gender across their senior leadership, but the number of female pilots remains stubbornly low at around 5-6% on average.

Are there any guidelines, recommendations or best practices from within or outside the industry that both the airlines and IATA can use to achieve the targets?
This is one of the important pillars of the campaign. We will be inviting those involved in diversity and inclusion to join us in sharing best practices and experience so we can help one another. Next year we’ll host the airlines in a round table in Paris to start sharing best practices. Airlines are often competing for talent, but we believe that we will all benefit from cooperating to get more women into the industry. 

The initiative is set to achieve a 25% ratio or a 25% increase vs. current numbers if the 25% is already a reality. This is a positive first step. Let us challenge you a bit, Jane… when can we expect to attain full parity?!

You are right to challenge on this. Rather depressingly, entities like the World Economic Forum suggest that it will be another 200 years until we achieve economic gender parity. However, initiatives like this one can accelerate participation from women in the industry.  It’s about moving in the right direction, and making concrete progress, whilst never losing sight of the ultimate objective - parity.

Wings of Change Europe, the flagship aero political event in our region, is scheduled November 19-20 in Berlin. Gender Balance features among the key topics. Can you give us a sneak peek of what to expect?

Gender Diversity will take center stage both days! On November 19th, we will have a signing ceremony where participating airlines, represented by their CEO, will commit by signing the 25by2025 pledge. IATA’s ambition is to get 20 signatories by December 2019. We are therefore really looking forward to having the largest possible number of airlines formalizing their commitment in Berlin! And the next day, we have scheduled a dedicated panel on Gender Diversity where three airline CEOs will share the challenges lying ahead, and how to best overcome them. We should see a very lively and interesting discussion with some of aviation’s leading airlines!

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