South Africa will host the first-ever Global Aviation Gender Summit on August 8-10 in Cape Town. Picture: Pexels.

South Africa will host the first-ever Global Aviation Gender Summit that will see nearly 500 top-ranking representatives of governments and the aviation industry from across the world, including airlines, airports, and aircraft manufacturers. The summit is being hosted by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) in cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency responsible for managing civil aviation activities across the world.

The event will take place in Cape Town from August 8-10 and will aim to bring a meaningful gender transformation and equality in aviation.  

According to South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, the days of marginalising and relegating women across the globe to mere spectators when it comes to the air transport sector, are simply over.

“The discussion about total inclusivity and gender equality in aviation is long overdue, especially considering the fact that it has been over 104 years since the world's first scheduled passenger airline flight took-off. The time has come for all of us to vigorously challenge the status quo and in the process shift everyone’s mindset, and alter the systems that have enabled the status to continue, namely education, media, social and organisational values. We simply have to dismantle all barriers and build enablers that would bring about equality in aviation,” said Chikunga, in a press release. 

 ICAO’s Secretary General, Dr Fang Liu, said gender equality is central to sustainable development. “Aviation already contributes greatly to peace, prosperity and sustainable development, all over the world; yet aviation can do even more for our society, and especially for women. In order to accomplish this, it must first become a better example of gender equality in action. We must address head-on why women are still underrepresented in the majority of the technical and executive positions in aviation. This summit should be seen as a key opportunity to explore the challenges and enablers to women’s advancement across a variety of technical and scientific disciplines,” Liu said.