Tuesday 8 March is International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks call to action to accelerate gender equality, this year’s theme is ‘Break the Bias’.

The UK aerospace, defence, security and space sectors are crucial to UK prosperity and its net zero by 2050 ambitions. Our four sectors innovate technology and capabilities to the most complex of problems and support more than one million jobs. Women play a vital role in delivering innovative solutions to the most complex of problems.

Amongst the sectors, the industries have been continuously encouraging women and girls to take up science, engineering technology and maths (STEM) subjects and be inspired to consider jobs in our sectors. To mark International Women’s Day 2022 we wanted to focus and celebrate the work our sectors are doing to help ‘Break the Bias’ and promote gender equality.

The Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter

In 2018, at Farnborough International Airshow, the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter was launched. Since then, it has grown to more than 240 signatories including trade associations, airlines and aerospace manufacturers. The Charter’s mission is to work towards gender equality and achieve gender balance across all levels in the aviation and aerospace industry, find out more about the Charter here.

The Women in Defence Charter

Launched in 2019, at the Defence and Security Equipment International Exhibition, the Women in Defence Charter’s purpose is to bring gender balance across the defence sector by bringing together organistions across the UK who are committed to building a more gender balanced environment. In 2021, the Charter launched its new strategy which includes the ambition of achieving a minimum of 30 per cent female representation at all levels across the defence sector by 2030.

STEM Outreach Activity: UK ROC

ADS is committed to inspiring engineers of the future and the UK Youth Rocketry Challenge (UK ROC) is a fantastic example of how the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors can support and encourage young people to consider careers in our sectors. Taking place annually, UK ROC brings teams together across the country, who design, create and launch a model rocket in a bid to be crowned national champions. ADS works hard to engage girls in the competition and is pleased to see an increase of girls participating in recent years. This year’s international final will be held at Farnborough International Airshow.

Giving Women a Platform

Throughout the year, we support members in showcasing women across their organisations while tackling issues to achieving gender parity. Here is some of our most recent activity showcasing the incredible women in our industry already and supporting them in becoming an inspiration and role model to young girls.

  • Last year for IWD 2021, we showcased inspirational women within ADS including Caroline, Marika and Connie.
  • For National Apprenticeships Week 2022 we featured Mia, Izzy, Josie, Juliet and Elin all female apprentices within the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors.
  • On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we showcased how women and apprenticeships will be a key part of skills for the future with a guest blog from Bethany Hall from the Aerospace Technology Institute.
  • Harriet Wollerton, NATEP Programme Director wrote a blog on how to encourage more girls into STEM.
  • To mark International Women’s Day 2022, we feature Julie Martin, Naval Key Account Manager for Thales UK and celebrate the women at ADS.