Friday, September 27, 2019

Gender Diversity is Being Taken Seriously by Airlines and the Ocean Freight Industry

At Sea and in the Air Women Get a Boost for the Future
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Along with the interminable Brexit and the future of the environment, one of the current themes dominating global society's attention at the moment is that of gender diversity, and the transport industry as a whole is taking steps to address the issue, even in those areas which have traditionally been a bastion of male domination.

This week both air and ocean freight have felt the female influence, with firstly the International Air Transport Association (IATA) launching a new campaign, 25by2025, to increase women’s presence in the profession. The 25by2025 Campaign is a voluntary commitment by participating IATA member airlines. Key among the commitments of airlines participating in the 25by2025 Campaign are:

  • Increasing the number of women in senior positions (to be defined by the member airlines) by either 25% against currently reported metrics or to minimum representation of 25% by 2025
  • Increasing the number of women in under-represented jobs (e.g. pilots and operations) by either 25% against currently reported metrics or to a minimum representation of 25% by 2025
  • Reporting annually on key diversity metrics
That line including pilots is the one which will stand out as perhaps the most interesting, there is currently no comprehensive airline industry-wide gender diversity statistical report, however with women representing around just 5% of the global pilot population and 3% of CEOs, the gender imbalance in the industry is clear.

IATA member airlines who have already signed up to the 25by2025 Campaign include China Eastern, Lufthansa Group and also refreshingly Qatar Airways which hails from a region viewed by outsiders as perhaps often taking a misogynistic view when it comes to women in employment. In addition to the commitments from member airlines under the 25by2025 Campaign, IATA will also be making the following commitments itself:

  • Increasing the representation of women in IATA’s senior management (Directors and above) from the current 19% to at least 25% by 2025
  • Working with member airlines to increase the number of women they appoint to IATA governance roles from the current 17% to a minimum of 25% by 2025
  • Ensuring that the number of women participating as panellists / speakers at IATA conferences is a minimum of 25% by 2025
  • Creating a forum for sharing diversity and inclusion initiatives and best practices across the industry and publishing annual industry statistics on gender diversity
At the 2019 World Air Transport Summit the first winners of the IATA Diversity and Inclusion Awards were announced. IATA says the 25by2025 Campaign adds to this and the Association’s other efforts to address gender diversity in the airline industry. Meanwhile the theme of the 2019 International Maritime Organization (IMO) World Maritime Day, was ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’.

Again the aim of the IMO is raising awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and highlights the important, yet under-utilised, contribution of women within the maritime sector. For some time the organisation supporting this aspiration, the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) has been leading the charge to promote diversity in the maritime, trading and logistics sectors.

More than 40 countries support a National WISTA Association, each of which is guided by WISTA International and provide in-country and regional networking, business and skill building opportunities as well as mentoring programmes for its members. Some 3,000 female professionals form the majority of WISTA members, however male members are also accepted in several national WISTA Associations. In Norway the latest recruit to the ranks is Craig Jasienski, President and CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen, who said:

“To build a sustainable future of shipping and logistics, we need to bring together diverse views, experiences and perspectives in a workplace where everyone can thrive. I hope to see many more men join me as members of WISTA, to join the conversation and together build a truly inclusive industry.”

WISTA has a consultative status in IMO and has since its inception in 1974 participated in a number of global initiatives aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in the shipping industry. Speaking after the shipping line boss signed up to the cause Pia Meling, President of WISTA Norway commented:

“To bring the discussion on gender equality and diversity from the problem definition phase to finding good solutions, we need to invite men to the table, and especially the male leaders of our industry. WISTA Norway therefore encourages both female and male maritime professionals to become members, the main criteria being they want to drive diversity.

”We are pleased to announce that Craig Jasienski, CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen, is now a WISTA member. WISTA Norway looks forward to a close cooperation with Craig and Wallenius Wilhelmsen so that we together can attract, retain and empower more females in the maritime industry. “

To try and achieve its aims WISTA has partnered with organisations like the European Commission, International Chamber of Shipping, InterManager, INTERTANKO, World Maritime University, ISWAN, the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and YoungShip to increase women’s participation in the maritime industry in line with the UN’s sustainable Development Goal 5, (Gender Equality and Empowerment for all Women and Girls).