The Emirates Gender Balance Council (UAE GBC) participated in the Global Gender Equality Summit 2023 organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Madrid from 5 to 7 July 2023, and focused on the enabling factors for achieving gender equality and empowering women in aviation.
This participation, which took place in coordination with the UAE delegation to the ICAO Council, is the embodiment of the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the Emirates Council for Gender Balance, the wife of His Highness. His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, to strengthen the Council’s global partnerships to achieve gender balance in the UAE, as well as the participation of countries of the world in the UAE’s pioneering experience in the field of gender. balance.
During her participation in the summit, chaired by Her Excellency Huda Al Hashemi, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and a member of the UAE Cabinet, and with the participation of Ayat Al-Salami, Senior Project Manager in the Cabinet. The delegation of the Emirates Council of the Emirates Council reviewed the country’s efforts to achieve gender balance in all sectors and its regional and global achievements in this field. It is a translation of the vision of the wise leadership in supporting women to enhance their role as an important partner in comprehensive development and an affirmation of the UAE’s commitment to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
On the sidelines of the UAE’s participation in the summit, Her Excellency Huda Al Hashemi met with the President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Salvatore Scacitano, and discussed with him areas of cooperation in a way that contributes to enhancing gender balance in the country. at the regional and global levels. She emphasized the importance of the Global Accelerators Ambassadors Program, which was launched last May at the organization’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada, with the aim of empowering the organization’s leaders through the tools and methodology of the accelerators to support ICAO’s goals to achieve gender balance and its transformative vision.
The summit, which was held with the participation of governments, international organizations, experts and academics from the private sector, represented an excellent opportunity for dialogue on the current situation and prospects for expanding partnerships and strengthening actions by airlines and bodies, which will help achieve acceleration of progress towards gender equality and enhance women’s participation in the industry in line with The fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals is related to the empowerment of all women and girls around the world – especially in light of the current significant gap in the status of aviation workers by gender, according to a global survey conducted by ICAO. At the same time, she indicated that there is a positive point despite this challenge, which is the increase in the percentage of women’s participation in general around the world in the jobs of pilots, air traffic controllers and maintenance technicians from 4.5% in 2016 to 4.9% in 2021.
The summit stressed the importance of gender equality to create a more inclusive industry that provides opportunities to absorb new perspectives and ideas, and innovative and comprehensive solutions that work for all, making the aviation sector more competitive and resilient in facing future economic challenges. The summit sought to explore enabling factors and solutions to achieve this goal, and called on stakeholders to work together to overcome obstacles faced by women and girls to change the composition of the workforce in this sector.
Her Excellency Huda Al Hashimi participated as a keynote speaker in the session “Harnessing the Power of Gender Responsive Policies and Finance”, which focused on the importance of integrating a gender equality perspective into aviation policies, planning processes, strategies and frameworks.
The session looked at how to create an enabling environment for women in the aviation sector and ways in which workplace culture can be changed through gender-responsive policies such as flexible working arrangements, promotion of work-life balance, and implementation of inclusive and transparent human rights. Resource policies, with adequate human and financial resources allocated to implement these institutional arrangements in order to successfully address the gender gap.
In addition to His Excellency Huda Al Hashemi, the session was attended by: Bobby Khoza, Director General of the South African Civil Aviation Authority. Priscilla Manis, Acting Head of Administration and Finance, OSCE Mission to Kosovo; Gemma Martin Del Burgo, President of Ellas Vuelan Alto, which works to highlight female talent in the aviation sector; Katja Berman, Senior Advisor, UN Women, and Dr. Leslie Groves-Williams, Senior Advisor on Gender Equality and Leadership moderated the panel discussion.
Achievements of gender balance in the UAE
The Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and a member of the UAE Cabinet confirmed, during her participation in the session, that the UAE is dedicating its efforts to enhance its successes in the aviation industry through its close relationship with the International Civil Aviation Organization, and said that part of these efforts is to ensure Share knowledge about the Government Accelerators methodology and focus on gender related issues.
She also highlighted the UAE Bank, which was established in 2015 as the federal entity responsible for the gender balance agenda in the UAE to reduce the gender gap in all sectors, including the private and government levels, and to promote gender balance in leadership and decision-making. Enhancing the global competitiveness of the UAE and making it a role model in this field.
She touched on the most prominent projects and initiatives launched and implemented by the Council under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to achieve these national goals, including the development of a “Gender Balance Guide” in cooperation with the Authority. Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). As well as studying and reviewing laws and legislation related to gender balance, empowerment and women’s economy, as more than 22 new legislation and legal amendments have been issued over the past years, covering the areas of work, protection, political participation and personal status. And the judiciary, and wages, and banking transactions, and freedom of movement, and entrepreneurship, and property, and pensions.
Gender balance in aviation
She indicated that the percentage of women in the aviation sector in the UAE is high, as approximately 27 thousand women currently work in this sector, representing 42% of the workforce, and that the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has worked to increase the percentage. From women’s representation in leadership positions to 19% overall in 2022 and to 21% in technical disciplines. The overall enabling environment in this sector has improved from 46% in 2017 to 86% in 2022, reflecting efforts to provide a gender-friendly work environment.
She added that the efforts made to enhance women’s participation in the labor market extended to the UAE private sector to keep pace with the achievements made at the government level through the launch of the “SDG5 Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance in the UAE Private Sector”. 30% minimum by 2025. 64 companies operating in a range of sectors including aviation, financial services and energy have joined the initiative.
Her Excellency Huda Al Hashemi highlighted the framework of the gender balance index for the UAE, the criteria that were applied, and the methodology for evaluating the participating entities, stressing that honoring the personalities and entities that win the index annually is part of the strategic strategy. Plans in the country to achieve gender balance in all sectors and urge more institutions and individuals to take practical steps.