An ambitious plan to get more women into careers in aviation has been bolstered by a $4 million investment from the Liberals and Nationals.
Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Women in Aviation Initiative will help encourage more women to pursue careers in all elements of the aviation sector.
“Women currently account for only around three per cent of pilots and one per cent of aircraft engineers in the worldwide aviation industry – and quite frankly, that’s something that needs to change,” Mr McCormack said.
“Industry and aviation training institutions are already doing some great work in this space, but I am proud this investment from the Liberal and Nationals’ Government will be a major boost to reach more women – no matter their age or location to consider a career in aviation, particularly women in the regions.
“This investment will be used for a wide range of programs to engage with women but one example is to target school-aged students and their parents to better understand the wonderful career opportunities of the aviation sector.
“From the career path of CEOs such as Tigerair’s Merren McArthur to Saskia Ford from CASA who worked the hangar floors as an aircraft engineer, there’s a world of opportunities for women in aviation and not just for pilots, which the Liberals and Nationals want to boost.”
Minister for Jobs and Women Kelly O’Dwyer – who joined the recent Government-led roundtable of women in aviation at the Avalon Airshow last week – said investing in women in aviation will help meet the need for skilled workers.
“An increasing number of female aviation professionals will be key to assisting the aviation industry to meet future demands for skilled workers,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“That major shortfall in female participation – combined with a forecast major growth in demand for air services in the domestic and international markets over the next few decades – means we need to move now to ensure gender diversity becomes the norm in the Australian aviation industry.
“The initiative will be informed by the recent roundtable which explored ways to promote greater aviation sector diversity and enhanced equality, by addressing a gender gap in industry careers.
“There are more women in work than ever before, but we want it to reach even greater heights, including in aviation.”
Women in Aviation International (WAI) Australian chapter President Tam Augostin welcomed the announcement.
“This funding will support initiatives by significantly advancing outreach programs, and maximising the ability to support young girls and women across regional and remote Australia,” Ms Augostin.
“The funding will target grass root programs to reach out to young women, whether it will be handing out pamphlets at airports, advertising or even mentoring young women as they find their feet or wings in the aviation industry.
“The Government’s commitment to funding the Women in Aviation initiative will provide a major boost to the industry’s efforts to achieve that goal.
Initiatives will commence this financial year and the Government will start working with relevant industry groups to put arrangements in place.
The announcement, which coincides with International Women’s Day and Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, follows this week’s historic naming of Western Sydney Airport after Australian aviation pioneer Nancy-Bird Walton.