IATA will join four other aviation and aerospace industry
stakeholders in launching a global study on the dearth of women in leadership
The study, "Soaring Through the Glass Ceiling," is
scheduled for release next spring. Results are to be broadly promoted by IATA
and the Aerospace Industries Association, Airports Council International, International
Aviation Womens Association and the civil aviation unit of the global
consulting firm Korn Ferry.
In a joint statement, the organizations said that women
haven't fared as well in aviation and aerospace as they have in other
industries. For example, fewer than a quarter of American aerospace workers are
women, and even a lower percentage of leaders in the profession are women.
"More can and should be done to enable the advancement
of women into important leadership roles in the global aviation and aerospace
sector," the organizations said. "The aim of this joint study is to
identify the root causes of any barriers to advancement that may have hindered
progress to date. More importantly, the study will highlight those practices
and policies which have been successful in promoting gender diversity in
For IATA, the study's launch comes after a tumultuous
general session in June, in which the organization took criticism because just
two of its 31 board members are women. The scrutiny was exacerbated when the
board's chairman, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, suggested during an IATA
press conference that women aren't up to the task of being CEOs. He later
According to IATA, just 3% of airline CEOs are women. Women
also hold just 8% of CFO posts and 3% of COO positions.
In all three of those roles, women are less represented than
they are in other industries. For example, 12% of CEOs overall are women.
All told, women hold just 16% of senior executive posts at
North American airlines, and that's a higher percentage than carriers elsewhere
in the world. In the Asia-Pacific region, women hold just 7% of senior
The "Soaring Through the Glass Ceiling" study will
include a global survey of, and interviews with, women, human resource leaders,
education leaders and organizational leaders.
The effort will also include case studies on success stories
within the industry and a review of prior literature on the topic.