42 percent of workforce in UAE aviation sector are women, conference told

About 27,000 women now work in the UAE’s aviation sector, a figure that represents 42 percent of the workforce, the Emirates News Agency reported on Wednesday

Mervat Sultan, president of the Middle East Chapter of Women in Aviation, said the number of women working in the industry is increasing because of active and constructive engagement with women interested in a career in the field.

Speaking at Women in Aviation’s 10th Anniversary Conference in Dubai, Sultan said: “If you want to build your nation, you need to build a generation first. The empowerment of women is essential for betterment of the society.

“For this, women’s education and training are important. We need to educate parents and children as well about employment opportunities in aviation.”

Sultan noted that already, “women are in all areas of aviation, not only as pilots; there are more engineers, air traffic controllers, medical, technical and legal staff.”

Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al-Maktoum, a 1st Lt and pilot with Dubai Police Air Wing, told delegates that the gender gap in aviation remains significant and that an effective strategy is required to address the issue.

Delivering the keynote speech, she said that in 2019 she founded Shehana, an association to empower and support women in the aviation industry, and advance gender balance through local, regional and international partnerships and collaborations.

“Women in the UAE are not just heard and seen but respected and included,” said Sheikha Mozah. “To improve gender equality there is a need for collaboration of sponsors, government and organizations supporting women in aviation.”

Kuljit S. Ghata-Aura, the president of Boeing Middle East, Turkiye and Africa, said: “Boeing has taken steps to support gender equality in the workplace in the UAE.

“In December 2022, we joined 15 companies from the UAE’s private sector in signing a pledge to accelerate the advancement of gender equality in the UAE’s workforce by increasing the representation of women in leadership roles to 30 percent by 2025.

“This pledge was an important opportunity for us to reinforce our efforts and align them with the UAE’s gender-balance agenda.”

The proportion of women in the Boeing workforce has increased to 24.6 percent globally, Ghata-Aura said, as a result of improvements to hiring and retention efforts.

Among a number of successful and influential individuals who were honored during the conference for their achievements, the Innovative Leader Award in Women in Aviation was presented to Suzanne Al-Anani, CEO of Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects.