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AOA highlights work of airports on International Women’s Day

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, the Airport Operators Association (AOA), the trade body for UK airports, is highlighting some of the amazing work being done by airports.

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Commenting, the AOA’s chief executive, Karen Dee, said: “International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to highlight all the great work being done by airports 365 days a year to increase female participation in aviation. We want the next generation of women to know the opportunities that airports and aviation has and the contribution they can make to this vitally important sector.

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“Whether it be reaching out to local schools, providing a workplace more supportive to women’s needs or developing existing female colleagues, airports are at the forefront of increasing diversity. We will be working with airports to support their activities and to raise awareness of what they are doing among stakeholders and decision makers as best practice.”

Additionally, the AOA’s chair, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, said: “I am passionate about improving skills and develop female colleagues in aviation, so it is brilliant to see everything airports are doing. There are roles for every kind of skill set and chances for fulfilling and wide-ranging careers and airports are working hard to raise awareness of these every day.

“Getting more women involved in aviation will have significant benefits to the economy, widening the talent pool, increasing productivity and developing a sector that more effectively meets passengers’ needs. I am delighted to be a part of this process, and to represent a sector doing so much to increase the opportunities for women.”

The following are some examples of the work being undertaken at airports in the UK in support the existing female workforce and increasing female representation among colleagues in aviation.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport
To help develop women across the business and supports our Diversity and Inclusion strategy, Liverpool John Lennon Airport is launching a Women’s Mentoring Scheme. This will be a trial scheme with a focus towards with the aim of achieving 50% female representation at senior management level by 2028.

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The programme and process has been developed to establish mentoring relationships and 11 women mentors have been initially identified. These are leaders and experts from within the airport, who can help with development and support, are ready to accept mentoring requests from their female colleagues.

Gatwick Airport
London Gatwick’s Business Resource Group ‘Equal Plane’ is an employee-led group focused on removing barriers, providing support and promoting the talents of women. They work collaboratively with the airport to drive change, including the provision of female changing rooms, kit and equipment in historically male dominated areas such as engineering; supporting HR with updating relevant policies; and creating networking opportunities via a range of events.

Equal Plane’s recent focus on menopause awareness led to the creation of a Menopause Support Group and to the airport signing up to the Menopause Workplace Pledge. As a result of their work, Mims Davies MP, a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, hosted a roundtable at London Gatwick last November on best practice and workplace support for women experiencing the menopause. Looking ahead, they have plans to explore financial planning advice for women as well as a broader well-woman focus.

Heathrow Airport
This year, Heathrow is taking its inspiration for its activity to mark International Women’s Day from the famous quote ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ by Marian Wright Edelman. As part of this, members of the airport will visit two local schools to celebrate International Women’s Day and showcase the great women of Heathrow and aviation.

The airport is keenly aware of the importance of ‘inspiring inclusion’, this year’s theme and of ensuring a gender diverse pipeline into the business to meet its Heathrow 2.0 targets. The goal is to show young women they can have a career in aviation with unlimited opportunities. This amplifies all the great work being done with schools and communities throughout the year.

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