It was a pleasure to speak at the Australian Airports Association (AAA) Women in Airports breakfast this week. I’m extremely passionate about raising the profile of women in the airport industry and doing my part to champion gender diversity across the sector.
To quote Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, it’s about encouraging women to pursue their ambitions, and changing the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do. I believe that’s the best way to tackle this issue and I think gender equality should be based on merit and not be about meeting a quota.
Having worked in the airport industry for over 20 years, in both Australia and across Asia, it is encouraging to see the representation of women in the Australian market. We have various female Airport COOs, and of course the CEO of AAA is also a woman. Having said that, there is always more to be done.
Throughout my career, I have often found myself as the only woman in the meeting, especially during contract negotiations and seemingly more “important meetings”.
I was however at a recent meeting with an Australian airport when there were mainly women around the table, and only one man! Most of us knew this was a unique one-off and even the man in the room joked about how he wasn’t used to being the only one present. Although I tell this story with a light hearted tone, it really highlights the gap which is still there and the fact we were ‘shocked’ to see so many women present is the sad reality.
We all know that gender equality makes business sense but it makes human sense too. Working for Amadeus, I’m proud to say that diversity is an important topic for us. Over a year ago we appointed a Chief Diversity Officer and we’ve since been involved in International Women’s Day and Girls in ICT Day, as well as events to support the LGBT community.
We’re bringing the diversity and inclusion conversation to the forefront, and I think that’s the most important step. Until we start having the conversation and giving it the focus it deserves, it is unlikely things will change.
I would like to thank the AAA for organising this event and championing gender diversity in our industry. The amazing guest speaker, Major General Simone Wilkie AO, a decorated combat veteran and trailblazer for women in the military, was inspiring and I will certainly take away bits of her wisdom to help champion my goals.
Visit the Amadeus Diversity & Inclusion website to learn more about how we welcome an environment based on equality of opportunity, fairness, respect, and dignity for all our employees.