IAWA Unveils “Soaring Through the Glass Ceiling” Report

The International Aviation Women’s Association Commissions Korn Ferry Study to Focus on Gender Parity

Given the current health crisis environment, the aviation and aerospace industry again finds itself evolving. This evolution requires diverse perspectives and innovative thinking to not only maintain sustainability but to incite future growth.

The International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA) has always been the industry’s voice for gender diversity and inclusivity and for advocating for women in leadership. Working in tandem with Korn Ferry, IAWA recently released “Soaring Through the Glass Ceiling,” a revolutionary study which validates the data behind the need for and value of integrating women into leadership in the aviation and aerospace industry.

As a firm which manages the planning, design and construction of facilities in aviation and aerospace, HPM recognized several years ago the need to have representation in an organization comprised of several of its clients. Yet, exposure to the industry and thought leadership amidst gentle disruption have been unexpected by-products of HPM’s participation in IAWA.

“As a woman, I find myself in a male-dominated industry (Architecture/Engineering/Construction) which serves typically male-dominated industries,” says Andi Sims, HPM’s Vice President of Marketing and an IAWA board member. “I got involved in IAWA in order to keep a pulse on our aviation and aerospace clients, but what I’ve realized is that I can be an agent of change which improves the lives and careers of other women in the industry for which I work and in the industries I serve. The ‘Soaring Through the Glass Ceiling’ study gives me that backing in these data-driven environments.”

IAWA’s “Soaring Through the Glass Ceiling” report tells a story of industry progress while providing insight into how and why diversity and inclusivity will create success for the next generation of industry leaders. 

The report identifies five key drivers that successful organizations consistently utilize to facilitate gender diversity and inclusivity:

  1. Public recognition and highlighting of female role models.
  2. Ensuring and communicating unquestionable senior leadership commitment to D&I.
  3. Level-setting expectations with individual contributors and management since individuals at lower levels are witnessing less progress on D&I than are their leaders.
  4. Ensuring that more women have a seat at the table.
  5. Investing in more inclusive talent management and succession processes.

Along with Korn Ferry, IAWA partnered with five other industry associations—the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Airlines for America (A4A), the Airports Council International (ACI), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The study spans 2018-2019 and gathers responses from more than 2,400 individuals within four sectors of the aviation and aerospace industries: women, business leaders, human resource leaders, and educators. The goal was to identify the key inhibitors and enablers for the advancement of women in aviation and aerospace, exploring the root causes behind the relative lack of progress for women’s advancement into leadership positions. The study also looks to the future – proposing next steps, offering solutions to overcome inhibitors, and recommending the practices, policies, and behaviors that will effect change.

“Much has been written about how the aviation and aerospace sector is behind, relative to the advancement of women into leadership roles,” says Alina Nassar, Immediate Past President of IAWA, “yet relatively little has been written on what can, and should, be done to address it. That is the real reason why we set out to conduct a study that would focus on potential solutions.”

About IAWA: The International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA) is an international organization for women who hold positions of impact in the aviation and aerospace industry. Founded in 1988, IAWA brings together women of achievement and promotes their advancement throughout the world. The organization’s mission is to cultivate and advance women leaders in the aviation and aerospace industries through a global network. To learn more about IAWA, please visit https://iawa.org/.