Women urged to reach for the skies

Monday, August 6, 2018

Transport Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has called on women to take advantage of opportunities in the aviation sector.

“Our government has done a lot since 1994 to ensure the empowerment of women in the industry through policy transformation,” the Deputy Minister said.

Chikunga was speaking to the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) radio unit ahead of the first ever Global Aviation Gender Global Aviation Gender Summit that will be hosted by South Africa this week.

“Globally there are also gender transformation policies that support women empowerment in the sector. There are many opportunities available now that I encourage women to take up in the aviation industry,” she said on Monday.

The Deputy Minister said the aviation industry is white male dominated but progress is being made in some areas to transform the sector.

The summit, which is being hosted by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) in cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), will be held from 8 August until 10 August.

The Summit will see nearly 500 top-ranking representatives of governments and the aviation industry from across the world, including airlines, airports, and aircraft manufacturers gathered in Cape Town to jointly chart a new flight-path that will bring about meaningful gender transformation and equality in aviation.

Head of SACAA Poppy Khoza said South Africa’s safety record ranks extremely high.

“We extremely excited to have a supportive government and responsive government…as the government wants to ensure there is excellence in this sector. Untransformed as it is, it is one of the sectors that is doing extremely well in our country,” she said.

Khoza said she expects the debates during the summit to be robust, and most importantly, the solutions to be pragmatic.

“The line-up of speakers is noteworthy and the topics are pointed, making it impossible for the summit to turn into a banal talk shop.

“Most importantly, if we do not emerge from this gathering with concrete goals, and start walking the talk, we would have failed the next generation of female aviators,” she said.

The summit is also being held in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and through the contribution of among others, the SACAA, South African Airways (SAA), Transport Canada, Air Traffic Navigation (ATNS), Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), and Qatar Airways. – SAnews.gov.za