While the aviation industry overall is relatively well gender balanced, there is a stark disparity some of the more technical areas, such as piloting and engineering. In the traditionally male-dominated world of aerospace engineering, American tech company GE, which manufactures jet engines under its business unit, GE Aviation, has been taking steps to ensure that its workforce is as gender balanced as possible.
In February 2017, GE launched a campaign called ‘Balance the Equation’, the goal of which is to hire 20,00 women in technical roles by 2020. To kick start the campaign, GE produced a video celebrating Mille Dresselhaus, the first woman to win the National Medal of Science, asking the question ‘What if Millie Dresselhaus was treated like a celebrity?’.
Diversity is central pillar of GE’s hiring policy. In 2016, the company achieved 50:50 gender parity in the Edison Engineering Development Programme, which offers people early in their careers the opportunity to learn leadership skills through intense technical training. To help reach their 2020 goal, GE Aviation has been running another campaign in over 80 of its global sites called ‘Cultivate’, which aims to develop and retain women engineers at the company. To further promote ‘Balance the Equation’, GE are also continuing to find ways to engage with local communities and universities.