Towards achieving gender equality in the global aviation industry


In a major step forward for gender equality and gender action in international air transport, ICAO and South Africa’s Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) were joined by over 500 leaders and experts from around the world in Cape Town for the opening of the first-ever Global Aviation Gender Summit.

Representing Member States and the entire range of air transport sector operations were at the global aviation event to present and ponder on varied perspectives as well as insights from a range of civil society and United Nations agencies with strong gender equity mandates.

The event’s participants heard from a series of leaders on why the #TimeIsNow is necessary for concrete actions and commitments to gender equality in global aviation.

All of the recorded presentations from the special event are shared below:


From the left: Ms Poppy Khoza Director of Civil Aviation, SACAA Ms. Sindiswie Chikunga, Deputy Minister of Transport, South Africa, Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary General of ICAO



“As a woman who has spent virtually her entire career in the service of international civil aviation, this is truly an exciting moment for me,” commented Dr. Liu in her keynote opening address.

“Aviation already contributes greatly to peace, prosperity and sustainable development, all over the world, but it can do even more for our society, and especially for women.”

Highlighting the vast global scope and forecast growth of worldwide air transport operations, Dr. Liu underscored that the optimal performance of the sector relies, at its core, on highly skilled, technical and managerial professionals.

In order to meet its future needs, air transport “must first become a better example of gender equality in action, and address head-on why women are still underrepresented in the majority of the technical and executive positions in aviation,” she noted.

“And while the current imbalance may be a challenge to those of us already serving as professionals in this sector, it is also an important opportunity for the next generations of girls now completing their studies and entering the workforce.”


ICAO and South Africa designed the Global Aviation Gender Summit to analyze the issue through both behavioral and socio-economic lenses, with special focus on the importance of diversity, inclusiveness, and the positive impacts expected in terms of organizational effectiveness and success.

Dr. Liu commented that the participants’ work should align with and support the global efforts underway in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and in particular, SDG5 on Gender, stressing as well that “we especially must not lose sight of the key role to be played in all of these efforts by reliable, dis-aggregated data on gender, whether for trend analysis, workforce planning, or related needs.”

Dr. Liu also praised the UN agency’s South African partners for the landmark aviation gender event, congratulating and thanking the Honourable Deputy Minister of Transport for South Africa, Ms. Sindisiwe Chikunga, and the State’s Director General of the Civil Aviation, Ms. Poppy Khoza, for their support and leadership.