Today is the one-year anniversary of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, which was launched at Farnborough Airshow. The Charter, which is a pledge for gender balance across aviation and aerospace, commits industry to be the best at driving diversity and inclusion and providing fair opportunities for women to succeed at the highest levels.

ADS has been actively involved with the Charter since its launch, working with our members to promote the importance of gender parity, as well as encouraging companies to commit to an increase in women in the industry through sharing best practice and promoting women through the pipeline.

Progress so far

Within ADS we have an internal group that is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion throughout the organisation. Beyond this, we work to highlight to our more than 1,000-member companies the importance of a balanced workforce through the different teams and channels we have here at ADS.

In January, we worked with colleagues in Northern Ireland to host an event at the Titanic Museum in Belfast, where Noel Lavery, the Permanent Secretary at the Northern Ireland Department for Economy, signed the Charter, alongside several other Northern Ireland companies, including: IPC Mouldings, Denroy Plastics, Moyola Precision Engineering and Bradfor.

Following this, in February we dedicated an episode of “Winging It – An ADS Podcast” to the work of the Charter. We spoke to Katherine Bennett CBE, Senior Vice-President at Airbus, as well as the co-chair of the Charter. We were also joined by Katie Roscoe, the Aerospace Growth Partnership Chair, as well as Jess Poole, an Engineering Graduate Trainee at Rolls-Royce.

In April, we organised an event in Parliament to celebrate the 100th signatory to the Charter. It was hosted with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Aerospace where Vice-Chair Dr Philippa Whitford MP made some remarks on the importance of the Charter, as well as the then newly announced Aviation Minister, Baroness Vere.

We have also been working with colleagues from Farnborough International and Farnborough International News Network (FINN) to bring together content that shows the fantastic women that work in our industries and what more we could be doing to promote women. Click here to watch their content on today’s one year anniversary of the Charter.

Events and communications that ADS have supported have helped to raise awareness of the Charter, as well as bring signatories together to network and share best practice.

Looking ahead

Currently colleagues at ADS Scotland are working with ADS member, Spirit AeroSystems to host an event in Glasgow Prestwick Airport in September. The event will see Co-Chair, Sumati Sharma who is the Vice-President Product and Commercial at Virgin Holidays, as well as Dame Deidre Hutton, Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority discuss how to attract more women into the industry and retain talent. Click here to find out more and register for the event.

As we look ahead to 2020, we are working on an exciting event that will bring together women from both the aerospace and defence sectors to hear from senior executive women, as well as the graduates and trainees who are the future leaders of our industries. Keep an eye out for more information!

ADS is working hard to raise awareness of the Charter and ensure our members, from primes to SMEs, find the Charter accessible. The Charter recognises that companies are at different levels and should be able to set their own internal targets to tackle gender inequalities. Register your own interest or support in the Charter on the Women in Aviation and Aerospace website.